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Teen found starving, living in barn, family members arrested

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 13:13:30-04

MEEKER, Okla. -- Authorities say a malnourished 15-year-old Oklahoma boy who survived by eating sticks, leaves and grass has been found living in a barn, and four members of his family have been arrested for child neglect.

Lincoln County assistant District Attorney Adam Panter said the boy weighed 80 pounds July 12, when he was found sharing the barn with goats, rabbits and chickens.

A concerned passerby saw the 15-year-old in a field eating berries off of a bush and contacted authorities.

The teen is hospitalized.

The boy's name and condition haven't been released. Panter says he could have died within a week or two without medical attention.

According to the boy, his father said they didn't have money for medical care, so he would clean maggots out of the wounds on his head and superglue the wounds shut. Officials said it has been two years since the boy was allowed to leave the property. 

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services declined to comment on the case.

Panter says the boy's father, stepmother and two older brothers have been arrested on child neglect warrants. Court records don't indicate formal charges have been filed.

The brothers were identified as Jonathan Plank and Tyler Adkins.

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