Timothy and Sarah Johnson allegedly had "issues with going to doctors"

By Christine Pelisek and Chris Harris
February 01, 2017 06:43 PM
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Credit: YouCaring

A Minnesota couple accused of letting their 7-year-old adopted son die of sepsis rather than bringing him to a doctor may have fled to New Zealand, PEOPLE learns.

Timothy and Sarah Johnson were scheduled for their first court appearance Tuesday in Hennepin County but they didn’t show up, Chuck Laszewski, spokesperson for the Hennepin county Attorney’s Office tells PEOPLE.

“At some point in the last couple of weeks they left and went to New Zealand,” Laszewski alleges. “A judge ordered a bench warrant to be issued to bring them back.”

The couple is accused of gross misdemeanor neglect after allegedly failing to seek medical attention for Seth, who died in March of 2015 from sepsis after having pancreatitis.

Medical examiners also determined that Seth had bruising on his cheek, forearms, chest, buttocks and lower abdomen, according to a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE. He also had two large lesions on the back of each heel that were consistent with pressure ulcers.

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His underweight, malnourished body was found on a mattress that had vomit stains on it, authorities allege.

The Johnsons allegedly told investigators Seth wasn’t acting like himself in the weeks before his death, developed blisters and markings on his legs, barely eating and throwing himself down the stairs and hitting his head.

The couple said they never sought medical attention for the boy because they had “issues with going to doctors,” the complaint states.

Instead, they researched his symptoms online and diagnosing him with post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury. The Johnsons alleged that Seth had previously been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and reactive attachment disorder.

They treated Seth’s behavioral changes with vitamins and his wounds with “medical honey,” the report states.

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

The following morning, they found Seth, who was wearing a diaper and a long-sleeved shirt unresponsive on his mattress and called 911.