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US-based Nigerian parents arrested after son dies during fasting

Oluwatoyin Bayagbon

Kehinde Omosebi and Titilayo, his wife, have been arrested by the Reedsburg police department in Wisconsin, US, following the death of their 15-year old son.

Ayanfe, their teenage son, was found dead in the family house and another child, an 11-year old was hospitalised following what the father described as a week-long religious fast.

According to Wisconsin State Journal, the 49-year old father had voluntarily gone to the Reedsburg police station on Sunday to report his son’s death.

Timothy Becker, Reedsburg police chief, said Ayanfe was found dead when officers arrived at the family’s residence.

The 11-year-old boy found at the family residence along with 48-year old Titilayo, the mother of the deceased, was also found to be “extremely emaciated.”

Becker said the father told police he was a minister affiliated with Cornerstone Reformation Ministries.

He said the family had started a religious fast on July 19 and the teenage boy died on August 31, exactly 44 days later.

Sonny Hyde, pastor of the Cornerstone Ministry Baptist Church in Reedsburg, said the family was not affiliated with his church, and he has not heard of Cornerstone Reformation Ministries in the community.

The 11-year old boy and his mother were taken to a hospital in the community but the mother refused treatment, citing religious reasons, and was taken to the Sauk County Jail.

Police said the parents would be remanded in custody on “possible charges of neglecting a child causing death and neglecting a child causing great bodily harm,” until they appear in the Sauk County Circuit Court.

The 11-year-old is said to be in protective custody receiving care at the Children’s Hospital in Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin.

The Reedsburg police chief said the parents are now eating while jailed in Baraboo, a city in Sauk County, Wisconsin.

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