Local News

Starvation, neglect led to boy's death, autopsy says

Posted June 21, 2013 7:48 p.m. EDT
Updated June 22, 2013 8:12 a.m. EDT

— A baby boy whose body was found in a plastic bag along a roadside in March was severely malnourished and died of neglect, according to an autopsy released Friday.

Matthew Theurer, 21, a senior airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, is facing multiple charges in the death of his 14-month-old son, Matthew. His body was discovered March 12 in a wooded area along N.C. Highway 905, between Whiteville and Tabor City in Columbus County.

According to the autopsy, the boy lived with his mother in Indiana until last July, when she asked his father to take him because she could no longer care for him.

Matthew attended off-base day care from August to November. He was scheduled to start base day care in December but never went. Theurer had moved a friend into his base apartment to care for the child, but she was “escorted off the base” in January, according to the report.

“After this date, no day care was provided for this child, and he was left alone for approximately 12 hours every day and was provided with little food while his father was at…work,” the report said.

The boy was found dead in his room Feb. 15, placed inside multiple white garbage bags and left on the roadside. The autopsy noted that Matthew was born full term at 7 pounds 4 ounces and was at normal weight during his last medical exam, which was at 4 months old. He weighed 13 pounds 8 ounces when he was examined after his death.

“In my opinion, the cause of death in this case was due to severe malnutrition as a result of neglect,” the medical examiner wrote in the report.

The Goldsboro News-Argus reported Friday that Theurer will be court-martialed, although a date has not been set.