Longmont father charged with felony child abuse in malnutrition case

David Lawrence Hall and Vanessa Hall are accused of starving and abusing their special needs son. (Photo: City of Longmont)

David Lawrence Hall and Vanessa Hall are accused of starving and abusing their special needs son. (Photo: City of Longmont)

LONGMONT, Colo. — A Longmont man has been charged with two felony counts of child abuse after investigators said his mentally challenged teenage son nearly starved to death.

David Lawrence Hall, 52, has been charged with child abuse causing serious bodily injury and negligence of an at-risk juvenile involving serious bodily injury, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office said.

Police arrested Hall and his wife, Vanessa, on Tuesday. Vanessa Hall is due in court Sept. 20.

In court papers, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora said they’d never seen such a severe case of malnutrition.

Doctors told police the 17-year-old boy, who is legally blind and believed to have autism, weighed 88 pounds.

One doctor told police the boy’s condition was, “consistent with someone who would have been in a concentration camp for several years.”

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the boy’s parents told detectives he consumed only sugary drinks and junk food for more than a decade.

The parents told police their son refused to consume anything but Cheez-It, Cheetos, Doritos and up to eight sodas per day.

In late August, the parents called 911 after the boy lost consciousness.

Investigators say the couple failed to seek assistance to get the boy the nutrients his body was craving.

Doctors said it will take at least a month of intense medical treatment before the boy can be considered no longer in a life-threatening state.

It will likely take six months for the boy to achieve an appropriate weight.

Anyone who suspects child abuse and neglect can call the statewide hotline at 800-CO-4-KIDS (800-426-5437). The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.