Timothy D. Johnson, 39, and Sarah N. Johnson, 38, failed to make their first court appearance and are believed to have moved to New Zealand, according to a Hennepin County prosecutor.
The Johnsons were scheduled to appear in court Jan. 31, at which time the charges would have been read and bail would be argued and set.
According to the charging documents, the Plymouth Police responded to the 6100 block of Vicksburg Lane on the morning of March 30, 2015 and found 7-year-old Seth Johnson, their adopted son, unresponsive on the bathroom floor with the boy’s father, performing CPR. The mother was also present.
The boy was pronounced dead at the home. He died of acute pancreatitis and possible sepsis, according to the pathology report.
The case was first approached as a homicide due to the boy’s bruising and sores, along with the parents’ refusal to seek medical care, according to a previous statement by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
“We spent a year reviewing all the evidence. We consulted with a child-abuse pediatrician who reviewed all of the medical information and investigative files to advise us on this one simple question: Could he link the parents’ actions, or inactions, to Seth developing pancreatitis and dying? He could not,” according to Freeman’s statement.
Based on that finding, the county attorney charged the Johnsons with the most serious crime the law allows – neglect of a child resulting in substantial physical harm, which is a gross misdemeanor.
The complaint stated the Johnsons acknowledged not taking their son to the doctor despite concerns with his recent behavioral changes stating they had “issues with going to doctors.”
Instead, the couple relied on their personal research and claimed the child had symptoms congruent with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury stating he was “always hurting himself.”
The couple said they treated their son’s wounds with an over-the-counter antibiotic cream and “medical honey,” according to the complaint.
Contact Kristen Miller at [email protected]