RILEY ALSTON STARVED TO WITHIN INCHES OF HIS DEATH SAVED BY TEENS ATTENDING A PARTY – UPDATED 06.10.2014 – CCA0150
RILEY ALSTON STARVED TO WITHIN INCHES OF HIS DEATH SAVED BY TEENS ATTENDING A PARTY
Riley Alston was born to parents Justin and Brittany Alston, both 21. Riley is the beautiful little man that cheated death by moments, and his saviors are not the conventional portrait of someone who saves an abused child from death.
Caleb Fuller, 15, and his cousin, Magon Rutledge, 17, are the heroes in this case. The two teenagers were attending a party at the Alston home when they heard little Riley crying. Magon told Justin that she could hear the little boy’s wailing, and he simply responded “He’ll go back to sleep. He’ll go back to sleep.” When Riley’s parents failed to check on him, Magon did, and what she found was an image that she will live with for the rest of her life. What she saw was an eight month old skeletal looking baby laying on a dirty mattress. Riley was extremely emaciated, lying in urine, feces and vomit, teetering on the brink of death. Magon recalls finding Riley, saying “I was furious and I was shaking and I was breathing hard and I was trying to be as gentle as I could with this baby because I felt like if I just moved a certain way this baby would break. He was so fragile and little. He had these big blue eyes and they were so bright but the rest of him was just like he was gone.”
She went on to say “I picked the baby up and he was slimy. The blanket underneath him was slimy.” As Magon removed Riley’s clothes, the severity of his condition horrified her. “His hair was crunchy. I wrapped the baby up in my jacket. He looked at me directly in the eyes the whole time.” Immediately Magon went into action. She got the attention of her cousin Caleb and told him to call his father (who also happened to be her legal guardian), and who had been a paramedic for the last 20 years. Caleb told his Dad to come quick, knowing that it was down to counting moments for Riley’s life.
When Magon brought Riley out of the bedroom and confronted the Alstons, they simply said that Riley had been throwing up the formula they had been feeding him and went back to partying. Magon says she was in complete shock and instantly made it very clear to Justin and Brittany that this ended there. “I said, ‘Don’t touch this baby, whether you like it or not. This baby isn’t your baby no more, it’s mine.’ Justin got a little threatening (verbally). His main concern what that he was going to get into trouble. He kind of threw a fit.” Caleb also stood up for Riley and confronted Justin over the condition Riley was in. Caleb stated “I was standing toe to toe with him, I was telling him how he can’t do that to his child.”
Paul Fuller immediately rushed to the home and the moment he saw Riley, he knew this baby needed medical attention NOW. He states that Riley looked as though he was 100 years old. When he told the Alstons this, they simply said they were having a party and they would bring Riley to the doctor sometime next week. (Yeah, that’s right … I have never been so disgusted and furious.) Paul says that Justin “appeared to be incredibly intoxicated.” The home was littered with piles of trash, and the living room full with about 200 beer bottles and cans. The trailer was not fit for a human to live in.
Paul insisted that Riley be taken to the hospital immediately and eventually these two pieces of crap waved it off by saying that Paul could “go ahead and take him” if he wanted. Paul and the teenagers rushed Riley to Lake Granbury Medical Center, after which he was airlifted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Even after being rescued and taken to the hospital, doctors were not certain that Riley would survive. Riley was fed through an IV for quite a while, as his tiny little body would not accept food. At 8 months old he weighed a mere 9 pounds (not quite as big as my newborn sons), and less than 2 pounds more than he did at birth. This refeeding syndrome is common in severe cases like this, these children have been starved for so long that putting food in their bodies once again can actually kill them. The sudden replenishment of nutrients to a body which has switched function into survival mode can be overwhelmed and lead to many, many fatal symptoms. Thankfully though, Riley pulled through.
Investigators believe that Riley had not been fed in two months. When the Alstons were confronted with this, Brittany stated that she had other things to do than feed the baby, like getting the oil changed in their car. The Alstons freely admitted that they preferred drinking and smoking pot with their friends to taking care of their baby boy.
Riley and his two siblings, an 18 month old and 4 year old, were placed in a foster home, the oldest sibling was later placed with a relative. In no time at all Riley was fattening up to the weight that a healthy child his age should be. While the long term affects of Riley’s extreme malnourishment are not yet completely known, he has made a complete nutritional recovery. By the looks of the photos of Riley now, he is quite the happy little boy.
Both Alston’s were sentenced to 60 years in prison after the jury deliberated for a mere 40 minutes – their guilt was never in question.
While they say they do not feel like heroes, Magon, Caleb and Paul saved Riley’s life, and they did so without hesitation or thought. From the moment they laid eyes on the little boy, all focus was on getting him help and only on getting him help. Had they hesitated to do what they did, this story could have an even more tragic ending. Magon has said that she wants to find a way to advocate for neglected and abused children because this situation has opened her eyes. I say go for it girl – we will all be here to help you learn the ropes of advocacy work and support you in every way we can.
Despite their humble demeanor, Magon, Caleb and Paul, without a single doubt, are the angels that saved baby Riley’s life.