Centralia parents who fled after 16-year-old son found weighing 54 pounds arrested in Myrtle Beach, SC

MYRTLE BEACH, SC --  Centralia Police say  45-year-old Anthony Foxworth and 42-year-old Mary Foxworth were arrested in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They were booked into the city jail Saturday on Fugitive from Justice warrants.

According to the Myrtle Beach police department arrest report, police in Washington contacted the Myrtle Beach police department about the couple being in the area of S. Ocean Blvd and gave them the couples descriptions and their car.  Myrtle Beach officers found the car that matched the description in the Vancouver Motel parking lot on S. Ocean Blvd.  Motel employees informed officers which room the couple was staying in.  Officers went to their room, knocked on the door and that is when Anthony Foxworth peaked through the curtains and opened the door.  Myrtle Beach police immediately detained the couple.

There is no information yet on when they will be returned to Washington state. The couple pleaded guilty in Lewis County Superior Court to Criminal Mistreatment 1st Degree but did not show up for their sentencing this past week.

In January 2016, their 16-year-old son was hospitalized for severe malnutrition, severe constipation and weighing only 54 pounds. He was unable to stand on his own, missing patches of hair and unable open his mouth to eat. The child had never been trained to use a toilet, could not read or write and did not attend school. “It doesn’t really get any worse than what we saw in this case.” Centralia PD Detective Corey Butcher.  

Prosecutors say multiple medical professionals indicated their son’s condition was the result of neglect, if not abuse, over a matter of years. When they first brought him to NW Pediatrics, court documents show he was ‘whiter than a piece of paper’ and ‘was skin and bones’.  He couldn’t talk and could only make grunting noises. When the medical assistant first saw him, it was estimated the 16-year-old was between 8 and 10 years old. The technician had never seen a child in his condition. His skeleton growth age was that of a 13-year-old. His condition indicated ‘Psychosocial Dwarfism’, a growth disorder caused by deprivation, emotional stress and/or neglect. Though rare, it is common in feral children or children kept in abusive, confined conditions for extended lengths of time. It can cause the body to stop growing but is considered to be temporary. Regular growth resumes once the abuse or neglect stops.

The boy had not seen any doctor since 2007. The 16-year-old had had 24 teeth in need of treatment including 2 root canals and at least one extraction. Both of his siblings appeared healthy and had been taken to the doctor dozens of times. When detectives asked Mary what she thought was happening to her son, she indicated that he ‘was starving himself because he was depressed. She did admit she did not know when he started losing weight because she was too wrapped up in her own depression’. She wrote a letter to him saying she was sorry for failing him and hoping he would be able to forgive her. When confronted, Anthony maintained the family ate healthy meals together that he did nothing wrong but indicated he should have made better choices.

The 16-year-old his two siblings were all removed from the Foxworth home for their safety.

The teen is now in foster care and has shown tremendous progress in his recovery.  “The kid’s doing great. So far to date, he’s gained over 90 pounds. He’s grown about 4 inches. He’s finally in school. He’s just doing awesome. Actually, I saw him a week ago. Totally different kid," said Det. Butcher.

Court documents show his foster parents started a ‘Book of Firsts’ to document things he had never done. Those included ‘learning to push a broom, make a sandwich, go to a movie theater, go bowling, play miniature golf and learning what a cantaloupe was’.    His foster parents said they are grateful the couple was found and eagerly awaiting their sentence.  "Our foster son will not be offering a Victim Impact Statement in open court. However, I will do so (as his guardian) in the hope that the court will be "encouraged" to administer a just sentence," said Marion Hazzard.

“What people don’t know is that there were three kids in this family, all biological children and the other two were totally fine. They did have some signs later on that they were starting to head down the same road that the victim was but their health and appearance was completely different than the 16-year-old."

According to 'The Chronicle',  the Lewis County prosecutor planned to ask for a 51-month sentence or just over four years for each of them after they plead guilty.  Criminal mistreatment in the first degree in Washington state is defined as:

(1) A parent of a child, the person entrusted with the physical custody of a child or dependent person, a person who has assumed the responsibility to provide to a dependent person the basic necessities of life, or a person employed to provide to the child or dependent person the basic necessities of life is guilty of criminal mistreatment in the first degree if he or she with criminal negligence, as defined in RCW 9A.08.010, causes great bodily harm to a child or dependent person by withholding any of the basic necessities of life.