A 6-year-old boy in Utah who was allegedly locked in a windowless basement by his parents had an orange tint to his skin as a result of being fed mostly carrots.
Brett Parker Tobiasson, 31, and Clarissa Anne Tobiasson, 27, were charged with child abuse on Aug. 9, according to KSL.
The Tobiassons would reportedly “discipline” their adopted son by locking him in a 10-foot by 10-foot room in their basement. They would lock the door from the outside and leave him in there for up to 12 hours at a time.
“While he was in there, he had no access to food or water, and no access to bathroom facilities,” Utah County Sheriff Sgt. Spencer Cannon told KSL. “It’s disturbing that this boy was treated this way.”
There was also no light in the room. The boy had a mattress and a blanket to sleep with, and police say his diet consisted almost entirely of carrots, which the Tobiassons reportedly made him eat before every meal.
“If he did not finish them within a certain time limit, he would not be allowed to eat the rest of the meal,” the sheriff’s office explained in a statement.
In a search warrant obtained by KSL, investigators detail the young boy’s bizarre dietary restrictions and how this related to his abuse:
The child was required to eat a bowl or baggy of carrots and would not be given anything else to eat or drink until the carrots were gone. If the carrots were not eaten they would be saved for the next meal and then the next meal and sometimes the next day. One night the family had ordered pizza and the child was only allowed to have carrots, and then told once all the carrots were gone he could have pizza. Later the child was given a short time to finish the carrots and was then told he did not eat them in time therefore he could not have pizza. He was told by his father he would give him pizza in the morning, however while being locked in the room he had an accident in his pants and was told because of the accident he could no longer have the pizza.
After the Tobiassons were arrested, the boy was taken to a doctor’s office where “a nurse reported the child to have an ‘orangey’ tint to his skin.” It was determined that this was an effect of having been forced to eat so many carrots.
When interviewed by police, Clarissa reportedly said she didn’t realize that what she and her husband were doing constituted abuse.
“[The mother] did express that she didn’t know that it was against the law to lock your child in a room,” Sgt. Cannon said.
The Tobiassons were also the adoptive parents of the boy’s 2-year-old brother, and have a 2-month-old daughter of their own. The 6-year-old is currently in his grandmother’s care, while the other two children are in the custody of Utah Division of Child and Family Services, according to KSL.
Their bail was set at $10,000. They are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 14.
Sources: KSL (2) / Featured Image: U.S. Department of Defense via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Utah County Jail via KSL