Riley Alston at 8 Months Old

Riley Alston at 8 Months Old

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.

Riley Alston at 8 Months Old

Riley Alston at 8 Months Old

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.”

Magon Rutledge

Magon Rutledge

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.”

Justin and Brittany Alston

Justin and Brittany Alston

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.

Riley Alston Before and After

Riley Alston Before and After

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.

Riley Alston

Riley Alston

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.

Riley Alston

Riley Alston

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.

Riley Alston

Riley Alston

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.




~ by LTWH on June 10, 2014.


  1. This truly breaks my heart seeing this pic of such a precious, innocent baby, being so neglected and ignored by his so called parents! I should really call them animals! Their interest in partying was more important than this babies life and simple, basic needs! How could a parent do this is unfathomable to me! I truly hope they never get to see, touch or even talk to this innocent child ever again, as he truly deserves a life without the pain they so callously and maliciously inflicted upon him! May God wrap his loving arms around this Angel and keep him safe from the evils of mankind, to which he has preciously been subjected!!!

  2. My heart sank when I saw this beautiful little boys eyes ,and his helpless little body ,those teens that saved them have definitely earned their ticket to heaven ,I pray this little Angel baby boy gets parents that will give him much unconditional love.

  3. Why waste taxpayer money feeding and clothing them for 60 years? Let’s just lock them in a dark room and let them starve to death!

  4. I am so glad this had a happy ending. I’m also enraged not only at the young couple, but also that no relatives of the 21 year olds intervened!!! They obviously they had NO good examples growing up. Still it’s NO excuse, people need to learn how to rise above their up-bringing and not perpetuate the cycle.

    I’m relieved Riley looks so happy and healthy now. His picture shortly after his rescue is so heart wrenching – those big blues eyes such a combination of frightened, miserable and confused. It’s awful, just awful.

    Your blog is inspiring me to somehow help abused and missing children. It’s tough work, heart breaking, disturbing and very difficult. Someone has to do it though. People have to care enough to save or help these children, and bring their abusers to justice! I will write to you this weekend to figure out how I may help.

    Thank you for your hard work!

  5. God actually saved this little angel because he needed him for something important on this earth. Anyone who hurts an innocent child deserves to rot in jail.

  6. When I saw how emaciated little Riley was, I retched dryly for about an hour. Shoot them both. Such a cute angel with those big blue eyes that makes my heart melt.

  7. I can’t believe no one related to that little boy intervened before conplete strangers took matters into their own hands. That itself is heartbreaking that he really had no true, loving family members. I hate hearing stories like this. At least his had a happy outcome and he is doing good. But he never under any circumstances should have had to endure what he went through. It is mindblowing at the selfcenteredness and ignorance that is breeding more and more nowadays. Sickening really.

    The second picture where he has his hands on his face made me smile and tear up at the same time. He looked adorable but so fragile. I’m not saying his condition looked good in anyway but his action of covering his face is something my kids did around that same age and it was always cute to me. And despite his low weight he was still an adorable little guy there.

  8. As long as abortion and euthanasia are accepted practices in this country and in this world we will continue to see stories like this. Life at all stages should be respected and reverred.

    • okay, what? abortions need to be made more acceptable and attainable to young women, like this child’s womb carrier, so that things like this DONT happen. you basically just said ‘make abortions illegal so young, unfit, terrible people can make children they don’t want, need or deserve so I can come here to read more stories about fucked up teenagers starving their innocent, helpless children.’ let me get this straight.. abortions should be illegal so that instead, a child who didn’t ask to be put in the care of such horrid people in the first place, can basically be tortured until death? riiiight. guess what though?? my vagina, my rights. your vagina, your rights. although I’m questioning whether or not even you should have children of your own considering you’re still stuck in the 50s. I bet you disagree with gay marriage and use the n-word a lot as well. ANYWAY, good day, and have fun advocating parents that torture, beat, starve and murder their children because women aren’t given the proper healthcare and facilities they need to help them because of assholes with views like yours and good luck in the future trying to tell people what to do with their genitalia!

  9. Thing is….there r ppl out there who can’t carry life and they’d be more than happy to take on a child who isn’t able to be cared for by its parents. I believe women have rights and should be able to make decisions based on themselves, but killing a child in womb and killed one born is the same.

  10. Killing one born I meant

  11. I wish the family of the people who did in fact save him could of adopted him, would of been beautiful story all around.
    So glad they heard him cry and went into action.

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