A third family member is in cuffs after a starving 10-year-old boy was found wandering around a Georgia neighborhood and asking for food last month.
Ethan Washburn, 20, was accused of choking his half-brother and charged with aggravated assault and aggravated assault by strangulation.
Washburn’s biological mother, Krista Schindley, and stepfather, Tyler Schindley, were arrested in mid-May and are being held without bail in Spalding County Jail on charges of attempted murder, false imprisonment and cruelty to children.
The boy was found walking around aimlessly in Westminster Circle, Georgia, according to prosecutors, who said he was allegedly malnourished, weighed only 36 pounds and begged not to be taken back home, according to FOX 5 Atlanta.
“As a mother, I can’t comprehend it. As a human being, it breaks your heart,” Spalding County District Attorney Marie Broder said during a press conference in mid-May when she announced the parents’ arrests.
“We aren’t releasing any photos of this child for obvious reasons, but I will tell you, the photos are absolutely horrible, and anybody with a human heart, who looks at them, should be shaken to their core.”
Police said the child was “thin with discolored skin and visible injuries,” and Broder said she believes “this case would be a very different one” if the child didn’t get out.
The boy was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment for malnutrition and a low heart rate, according to FOX 5 Atlanta.
The couple allegedly kept food away from the child and locked him in his bedroom without access to lights, toilet paper and human interaction, among other basic needs, according to the local news outlet, which cited a probable cause affidavit.
FOX 5 Atlanta briefly spoke to Washburn in May, when he wasn’t involved in the case.
He said at the time he was “not too close to the situation right now. I’m just actually watching the house. I don’t really have any comment at this time on this story.”
Court documents also suggested the boy suffered “dental injuries” and “disfiguration,” allegedly as a result of abuse from his parents, WANF reported.
Four other children found inside the Schindleys’ home are currently in the custody of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.
A neighbor who lived next door told FOX 5 Atlanta she was worried about the children.
“That’s just horrible. That anyone would be [like] this and by them being my next-door neighbor it makes me wonder if I should have been more observant,” Kim Seigler said to the station.
The boy is now reported to be in stable condition.