Nigerian parents arrested in the US after their son dies during compulsory 40-day fast

The parents of a 15-year-old boy were charged to court after their son died of starvation last week in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, following a 40-day fast.


Kehinde Omosebi, 49, who claims to be a pastor, and his wife Titilayo Omosebi, 47, were charged Tuesday in Sauk County with causing the child’s death through neglect. They were also charged with child neglect causing great bodily harm after another son, 11, was found alive but extremely emaciated.


The children’s father told police that the family were observing a religious fast which began on July 17.


Nigerian parents arrested in the US after their son dies during compulsory 40-day fast


Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker said police had to break through padlocked doors to reach the boys at a residence on Alexander Avenue on the west side of the city after Kehinde Omosebi alerted them on Sunday that his son had died there. Once inside, the police immediately encountered the distinct smell of a corpse, he said.


Becker added:

It wasn’t a fast, it was neglect because the statutes make it clear that you have to provide necessary food (to children).

When you lock your kids in the house and the father is the only one who can leave, it stops being a fast and starts being starvation and neglect.


Officers found the 15-year-old boy’s body in a chair in a bedroom, according to Becker. The criminal complaint said the boy was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head. The boy’s backbones and ribs were visible under his skin, it said.


Becker said:

It wasn’t like the kid was healthy on Thursday and then died on Friday. His death was a long process and his parents did nothing to stop it. That’s the most concerning thing about this.


The Omosebis’ 11-year-old son was so weak when police arrived that he couldn’t walk out of the residence on his own and had a hard time talking, according to the criminal complaint. The boy was holding onto a Bible and an envelope that police said contained pamphlets about death, which were handed out to officers when they arrived at the residence, the complaint said.


Police also found a handwritten letter in the residence with the boy’s signature on it. The letter was addressed to “Lawyers of Sauk County Circuit Court” and included statements such as “The hunger is too much. Please help me now so I may eat,” “I can’t continue in such a life with no food” and “If I don’t get food now I’ll probably die of hunger.”


Becker said the boy was initially taken to Reedsburg Area Medical Center but was later moved to the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, where he has been placed in protective custody.

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