ST. PETER, Minn. - An 8-year old boy who was allegedly put on a "liquid diet" is improving.
Prosecutors released that information in court Tuesday during a hearing on whether the boy's parents should lose custody of their three other children.
Randall and Monda Hauer of North Mankato are accused of starving their adopted son to the point he weighed less than 35 pounds when his mother brought him to a doctor last month.
The Nicollet County Attorney Michelle Zehnder Fischer wants their three children, ranging from 5 to 10 years old, removed from the home, citing possible psychological damage. But a judge did not rule on the matter at Tuesday's hearing.
Judge Todd Westphal already denied a similar motion earlier this month. His decision is expected next week.
"There isn't any new evidence. There's no evidence there other three children we're abused in any fashion," said defense attorney Jason Kohlmeyer.
Prosecutors allege the Hauer's starved their 8-year old son at their home in North Mankato by putting him on a liquid diet because the child apparently had "issues" with food.
Zehnder Fischer argues if the boy was physically abused in front of his siblings, the other children would have already been removed from the home.
"When we talk about the thing that can't be measured, can't be seen, the emotional harm I think that isn't fully realized," she said.
The complaint alleges the other children were made to watch over the boy to make sure he wouldn't sneak food.
He had trouble wetting himself, so the couple allegedly put the boy in the basement to sleep on a plastic sled. Prosecutors say the children were told to hose the urine off the boy in the yard.
The couple's attorney doesn't dispute those charges, but calls the accusations sensationalized, saying the boy was a "troubled child" that suffered from PTSD and fetal alcohol syndrome before the Hauer's adopted him.
"They way they make it sound, he was brought out like some sort of concentration camp survivor hosed off, that's just offensive," he said.
Zehnder Fischer says the boy spent more than a month in the hospital and is now happier living with a foster family outside of Mankato. She says he gained about 15 pounds and grew as much two inches.
"I think the fact that he's grown not only in weight but height speaks for itself," she said.
The Hauers have been charged with six felony counts including neglect. They're expected back in court on those charges in December.
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