A brutal Idaho couple has been convicted of starving their adopted daughter so much that the then 5-year-old went into cardiac arrest due to negligence.
After numerous delays in the case, Byron Bussman, 57, and Gwendaryn Bussman, 45, were both convicted of aggravated abuse of the girl, who prosecutors said was only allowed to eat plant protein and forced to Sleep in the laundry room.
They were charged in 2019 with wounding a child and aggravated grievous bodily harm, both felonies.
The Ada County Attorney’s Office detailed the ruthless treatment the girl faced between the ages of 3 and 6 between 2015 and 2018.
The girl, identified by EB in court filings, said she only ate “mush” and slept most of the time on a thin mattress in the laundry room without a blanket, according to the Idaho statesman.
The paper also reported that EB testified that other family members — the couple had other adopted children — ate “common food” and sat together, while the victim sat in a high chair in the corner.
EB reportedly testified: “I would sit in a high chair for hours and therefore have scars on my legs.”
The girl was also forced to drink three-quarters of a gallon of water a day, but was told to go outside with a five-gallon bucket if she needed to urinate more than once an hour, Idaho Statesman reported.
According to media reports, she was also forced to pick up dog poop as a chore.
“She was thin and had dry skin. She appeared to be malnourished — just not a healthy child,” testified Dawn Cliff, a rehabilitation interventionist who worked with the girl for several months between 2017 and 2018.
The girl, who was forced to go out in October 2017 after soiling her diaper, suffered a heart attack and Cliff found her motionless, The Statesman reported.
“I remember Gwen and Byron rushing to the hospital,” EB said. “I remember doing nothing in front of the swing, just staring, motionless.”
After returning from the hospital, she was still forced to do housework, despite adding PediaSure to her paltry diet, according to the politician.
When the Boothmans were arrested in 2019, Ida Deputy Attorney John Dinger called the case “basically torture and neglect,” according to the Idaho Press.
“The young child was adopted when she was 3 years old, as we called her back then, just tortured and starved,” he reportedly said.
According to KTVB 7, Boothman’s trial was originally scheduled for September 2019, but has been continuously delayed due to delays and reallocation of judges.
The station reported that Byron and Gwendarlene Boothman will be sentenced on September 19 and could face up to 20 years in prison.