Teen dies after being forced into a 40-day religious fast
Titilayno A Omosebi, 48, and her husband Kehinde S Omosebi, 49, are facing criminal charges in Wisconsin for causing the death of their 15-year-old son who died while engaging in a lengthy religious fast.
According to this report, the youth – Ayanfe O Omosebi – had complained in a letter to the authorities before his death that he feared he was about to die. In the letter, addressed to “Lawyers of Sauk County Circuit Court” he wrote:
The hunger is too much. Please help me now so I may eat. I can’t continue in such a life with no food … If I don’t get food now I’ll probably die of hunger.
The Reedsburg Police Department in Wisconsin said in a statement that the boy’s father came to the police to report his son’s death.
When police got to the family home, which was padlocked from the inside, they found Ayanfe’s emaciated corpse. His 11-year-old brother, who was also emaciated, was found alive with his mother.
The father told police that the family started a 40-day fast on July 19, only drinking water, so they could get blessings from God to move to Atlanta. He told police he was a minister affiliated with the Cornerstone Reformation Ministries, an organisation that appears not to exist.
Reedsburg Police Chief Tim Becker said while he was aware of religious fasting, he had never heard of one lasting that long.
The mother and her 11-year old son were taken to Reedsburg Area Medical Center for treatment but Titilayno refused treatment on religious grounds. The boy was taken into protective custody.
The couple have since been charged with neglecting a child causing death and neglecting a child causing great bodily harm.