Adoptive parents charged in death of son, 4, who was 'skin and bones' when police found him at the family's home

By Daily Mail Reporter


A North Texas husband and wife have been charged with felony injury to a child after their 4-year-old adopted son was found dead at their home.

Police in Cleburne, Texas arrested David, 46, and Angel Cook, 35, on Monday after an autopsy report indicated Buddy Cook's death was a homicide. The body was discovered March 22.

Earlier Child Protective Services affidavits said Buddy apparently died of dehydration and malnutrition and the parents didn't seek medical attention.

Victim: Buddy Cook appears to have died from dehydration and malnutrition, although a final ruling is pending further tests, according to a petition and affidavits filed by Child Protective Services investigators

Victim: Buddy Cook died from dehydration and malnutrition and his adoptive parents have been charged in connection to his death

Police say the four-year-old boy was 'skin and bones' when they were called to his home, after it was claimed his adoptive parents failed to seek medical attention.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report ruled 4-year-old Buddy Cook’s death a homicide by starvation.


Seven children aged from one to 12 years old were removed from the Cook family home in Cleburne, Texas and placed in foster care, but officials believe Buddy's death may have been as a result of a pre-existing medical condition.

Bond has been set at $75,000 for each parent. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday did not immediately provide information on whether the couple remained in custody.

An attorney for the Cooks didn't immediately respond to messages.

Scene: Seven children aged from one-to-12-years-old were removed from the home and placed in foster care but officials believe Buddy's death may have been as a result of a pre-existing medical condition

Scene: Seven children aged from one-to-12-years-old were removed from the Cook family home and placed in foster care

Officials said there had been no history of Child Protective Services issues at the house or with his adoptive parents, Angel and David Cook.

The adoptive parents told investigators that the boy was the product of an incestuous relationship and was emotionally disturbed after he had been sexually abused by his mother and other men, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported.

Buddy came to live with the Cooks about nine months ago from Oklahoma.

He had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, reactive attachment disorder and a sexually transmitted disease.

He banged his head on things, sat in the corner rocking back and forth, and picked at the walls, or his own skin, the parents said.

The other children at the home had varying accounts of what life was like in their foster home.

Some said they were never denied food as punishment, while another said he and Buddy were sent to bed without dinner and were spanked with a belt if they left their room without permission.

David Cook told investigators that Buddy had started refusing to eat or drink but would eat his own feces. His parents were feeding him Ensure because he was losing weight.

A family friend also said that Angel Cook would have to tape gloves onto the child to prevent him from hurting himself.

A medical examiner reported that Buddy had food and water in his stomach and that his bowel was full, 'all indicating intake of food and water'.

He also found that he had no fractures or external injuries indicative of abuse, and that the injuries to his face were consistent with a fall.

Angel Cook said that the night before Buddy died he threw up after his dinner but had no fever. She said she intended to take him to the doctor on the day he died.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

I adopted a little dog last year. She was a cruelty case. We have had problems. But EVERY TIME she's been ill (often) I have whisked her off to the veterinary clinic. This little dog would never have been left ill and dying by me. No matter the time of day or night, no matter the cost, this child should have been in hospital having the best medical attention. Anything else is willful neglect and these two have really fooled authorities who found them fit, satisfactory adoptive parents. I do hope they don't get away with this poor baby's death. There's no excuse.. Rest in peace now little man. You never had a chance.

Click to rate     Rating   53

Beyond his physical needs I am wondering what could have been done to try to restore his emotional equilibrium after the abuse. It seems that he wanted to die judging by his behaviors. As if he felt damaged beyond repair. Soul sick without words to explain. Shame that normal family life and many other young people around were not enough to restore him. Sad Sad SAD.

Click to rate     Rating   63

They really shouldn't have taken on such a traumatized child if they already had so many other kids in the house. That child needed specialized care.

Click to rate     Rating   101

Poor little guy, doomed from birth.

Click to rate     Rating   83

He's a little angel with God now!

Click to rate     Rating   50

More investigation is needed. This boy was taken from a horrific situation and it's likely this couple was dealing with a lot..

Click to rate     Rating   65

I don't know what's true in this particular case but I think that in general it should be mandatory that children who are this disturbed be under close medical and psychological supervision after being places in foster/adoptive homes. Perhaps this child would have gotten the nutrition he needed if he had seen a doctor monthly.

Click to rate     Rating   57

bless you little prince...may you rest in paradise

Click to rate     Rating   32

How incredibly sad.

Click to rate     Rating   48

from the descriptions provided by authorties I doubt they'll end up being charged with murder. There was food and water in his bowels and no signs of external injuries. None of the other children provided harrowing tales of abuse. Yes, they would be spanked if they left their rooms, which isn't ideal, but horrific abuse, no.

Click to rate     Rating   109

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