FORT MYERS, Fla. — A vegan woman convicted of murder in the malnutrition death of her young son was sentenced Monday to life in prison.
Sheila O’Leary, 38, whose family followed a strict vegan diet, was convicted in June of six counts — first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse and two counts of child neglect — in the death. by Ezra O.’Leary. Her sentencing in Lee County, Florida, had previously been postponed four times.
Her husband, Ryan Patrick O’Leary, remains in jail awaiting trial on the same charges. Investigators said the couple told them the family ate only raw fruits and vegetables, although the boy also drank breast milk. The 18-month-old boy weighed 17 pounds (8 kilograms) and was the size of a 7-month-old baby when he died in September 2019, according to a police report.
The Cape Coral couple had two other children, ages 3 and 5, who were also malnourished, investigators said. A fourth child had been returned to his biological father during an earlier malnutrition case in Virginia, court records show.