UNIONTOWN (KDKA) -- A mother in Fayette County is facing charges for allegedly starving her 11-month-old son.
The child's father brought the boy to CYS and told them that his estranged wife was "obsessed" with following a strict diet, and only fed the child fruit and nuts.
Elizabeth Hawk, 33, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child after investigators say she allegedly failed to give her 11-month-old son sufficient food.
Brandy Hawk says her young nephew showed physical problems that concerned her.
"He had a severe rash," said the suspect's sister-in-law. "It was his motor skills; he couldn't use his hands at all."
The boy's mother, Elizabeth, told Brandy that it was nothing to worry about. Brandy says her sister-in-law blamed it on "allergies."
But Brandy says she wasn't convinced, and neither was the child's father, Jerry Hawk, of Henry Clay Township. He and Elizabeth are separated and the boy was in his mother's care.
Brandy says her sister-in-law has extreme views on nutrition.
"She was going to live on water and sunlight," Brandy said.
Investigators say the little boy, who needed proper food at an important developmental stage, was given small amounts of nuts and berries, causing his condition to deteriorate.
That's when the boy's father took the child to CYS who had the infant rushed to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia.
"He said, 'I gotta save my kids,'" Brandy said.
Court records show the boy's attending physician called not treating the rash "inhumane." The skin condition also put the boy at risk for septic shock, doctors said.
According to the doctor, the baby was also at a "failure to thrive" level, leaving the child developmentally delayed as a result of malnourishment.
The baby is now at home with his father, as are the couples other two children. Family members say the child's condition is improving.
"He's doing great," said Brandy. "He's turned completely around."
Elizabeth Hawk remains free on her own recognizance. There's no word on when she'll appear in court for a preliminary hearing.
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