Tuesday, August 16

Parents Lived Normal Life Around Dead Boy



An American couple whose seven year old son was discovered decomposed in their Spanish apartment had lost their sense of reality, the case prosecutor has said.

Bruce and Schrell Hopkins, aged 39 and 38, claimed the child did not wake up one morning but they would not accept he was dead. They have been charged with negligent homicide.

The couple, originally from the Detroit area, have been provisionally released after questioning from a judge but their passports have been confiscated.

Case prosecutor Enrique Barata said the exact cause and time death of their asthmatic son Caleb had yet to be established – though he was known to be alive when the family celebrated a birthday at a restaurant on 15 November.

He was found beneath several blankets in the rented apartment in Girona where the couple lived with their three children. The father told the judge they had not taken the boy to hospital as they did not believe in standard medicine.

The father explained he tried to give his son resuscitating manoeuvres, cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing, Mr Barata told reporters. But the child was unresponsive.

Mr Barata accused the parents of having lost their sense of reality following the death – though medical tests showed they were not mentally ill. They would live normal home life around the dead body,” he said. They couldn’t accept that the child was dead.

Police visited the apartment following a call from the owner, who had been there to collect unpaid rent. If the child was dead when found by his parents, there may not be a case for negligent homicide, prosecutors said.

Toxicology tests have been done to see if the boy had been given any drug or poison. Christian Salvador, the family’s defence lawyer, said: More than a sentiment of guilt their feeling is of grief. This is about two parents who have just realised their son is dead.

The couple’s two other children, a boy aged 12 and a girl of 14, have been taken into regional government care.