Cameron Hoopingarner was rushed to the hospital by paramedics due to cardiac arrest on February 21, 2017. He was later pronounced dead.
Four adults now face charges in connection to the nine-year-old’s death, including his legal guardians, whose care he had been in since he was three days old.
According to WKRN, a search warrant of the boy’s home led to the arrests of Hubert Kraemer, Robin Kraemer — Cameron’s guardians — their son Chad Kraemer and his girlfriend, Sarah Travioli.
When Cameron was brought into the hospital, his body composition alerted authorities that something was seriously wrong.
The boy suffered from cerebral palsy, blindness, and an inability to speak. He weighed just 15 pounds.
As the Indy Star notes, a growth chart by the CDC lists the weight of a healthy nine-year-old boy in the 97th percentile at around 95 pounds. Children in the third percentile should weigh close to 50 pounds.
Although Cameron’s cerebral palsy could have affected his height and weight, reports the Star, court documents stated that the boy’s malnourishment was so severe that his skin was stretched over his bones.
His cause of death was determined to be from starvation and ruled a homicide.
According to the Star, Robin Kraemer told police that she fed Cameron sweet potato baby food, baby formula, Pedialyte, and oatmeal cereal.
At one point, Cameron received protein shakes, which Kraemer said cost $34 per can, but his guardians could no longer afford them once insurance refused to pay for them.
Kraemer also told the authorities that the child hadn’t been to the doctors in over a year, despite suffering from pneumonia and the flu the week before he died, according to reports.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr called Cameron’s case exceptional in the worst way.
“I’ve done over 6,000 autopsies in my career and this is one of the most disturbing I’ve ever done,” he said.
Following the reports of Cameron’s death, Inside Edition released a family photo from an unknown time which featured a first look at the little boy.
Unable to speak for himself, Cameron wore a facial expression that, in light of his death, seemed to convey sadness:
Sheriff Greg Ewing echoed the statements of Dr. Kohr by calling Cameron’s case one of the worst he has ever seen in his career as well:
“In my 26 years with this office, the pictures that I saw of Cameron and his condition were terrible. Beyond terrible.”
Following the autopsy report, which found methamphetamine in Cameron’s system — traced to an exposure from someone using the drug in a close proximity — the four suspects in Cameron’s death now face additional charges.
These charges include neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and death, failure to make a report, two counts of neglect of a dependent, maintaining a common nuisance, and visiting a common nuisance.
If Cameron’s legal guardians are convicted, they face up to 40 years in prison.
Members of Cameron’s community are raising money to ensure the little boy is properly laid to rest.