Milwaukee mom charged after 16-year-old son dies weighing just 42 pounds

Iraida Pizarro-Osorio

MILWAUKEE -- A 32-year-old Milwaukee woman faces a felony charge of chronic neglect of a child -- after the medical examiner determined her 16-year-old son died from severe malnutrition.

Iraida Pizarro-Osorio, 32, brought her son to the Sixteenth Street Health Center on Sept. 4. He was "unresponsive, had a faint pulse, and appeared extremely emaciated," according to a criminal complaint. Despite efforts by clinic personnel and Milwaukee first responders, the child died at the health center.

The 16-year-old weighed just 42 pounds at the time of death -- "placing (the child) in the zero percentile on the CDC's growth chart for boys ages 2-20," the complaint reads. A detective noted the boy's "skeletal structure was visible underneath the skin" and he was "lacking muscle."

When interviewed by police, Pizarro-Osorio indicated she had recently returned from Puerto Rico with her three children -- including the 16-year-old. She told police the teen "became sick and was not eating." Pizarro-Osorio said she took the child to a doctor in Puerto Rico and was turned away because she did not have insurance. She said after returning home on Sept. 4, she took the boy to the medical center after he was found unresponsive in his bedroom.

The complaint says Pizarro-Osorio told police the 16-year-old suffered from a genetic disorder, had seizures, epilepsy and autism. She said his condition impacted his ability to gain weight. Pizarro-Osorio told police the teenage "has never weighed more than 75-80 pounds in his lifetime."

Investigators claim in the document that an 18-year-old woman they spoke with said in March 2019 that "the defendant placed a lock on the outside of (the teen's) door to prevent (him) from leaving his room at night." The unidentified 18-year-old also said Pizarro-Osorio had not recently traveled to Puerto Rico.

In a second interview with police, the complaint says Pizarro-Osorio admitted lying -- that she and her children "never went to Puerto Rico during the summer of 2019." When asked about the lock on the teen's bedroom door, the complaint says Pizarro-Osorio "claimed the lock was to ensure that (the teen) did not leave his bedroom at night. The defendant claimed that she would feed (the teen) dinner and then lock (the teen) in his bedroom at bedtime. When (the teen) fell asleep, the defendant claimed she opened the door back up so that the defendant could hear if (the teen) suffered a seizure."

When questioned about why she lied to police, the complaint says Pizarro-Osorio said she "was scared that child protective services would be called and the defendant's children would be taken away."

Pizarro-Osorio made her initial appearance in court on Sunday, Sept. 8. Cash bond was set at $35,000. Pizarro-Osorio is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 18.