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Minnesota Couple Allegedly Let 7-Year-Old Son Die of Sepsis Rather Than Bring Him to Doctor

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Seth Johnson
YouCaring

A Minnesota couple faces child neglect charges after allegedly failing to seek medical attention for their 7-year-old adopted son, who died two years ago from sepsis after having pancreatitis.

PEOPLE confirms that Timothy and Sarah Johnson learned last week they would each be charged with one count of child neglect resulting in substantial bodily harm stemming from the death of Seth Johnson, the boy they adopted in 2010.

Criminal complaints against both parents allege the Plymouth couple denied Seth the medical treatment that would have saved his life, instead researching his symptoms online and diagnosing him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

They also allegedly determined Seth had suffered a brain injury and was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Seth died on March 30, 2015. His underweight, malnourished body was found on a mattress that had vomit stains on it, authorities allege. He was also allegedly covered in bruises.

Medical examiners later detected contusions on his face, forearms, chest, buttocks and lower abdomen.

His legs were also allegedly covered in blisters, according to the criminal complaints, obtained by PEOPLE.

The Johnsons allegedly told investigators Seth wasn’t acting like himself in the weeks before his death, barely eating and throwing himself down the stairs.

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The couple said they never sought medical attention for the boy, fearing doctors would prescribe medications for him.

As Seth’s condition worsened, the Johnsons were out of town, attending a wedding. They left the boy with an older sibling, returning to find him nearly lifeless. Rather than call 911, the couple allegedly “prayed for his health.”

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The couple raised $7,000 for Seth’s funeral expenses through an online crowdfunding campaign.

Timothy and Sarah Johnson could be sentenced to 12 months in jail if convicted.

The Johnsons could not be reached for comment, nor could their attorneys. The couple have yet to appear before a judge to enter a plea.