Casselberry mom refused to take child to hospital over vegan beliefs

Sarah Anne Markham arrested on charge of child neglect

A Casselberry mother was arrested on allegations of refusing to take her newborn, diagnosed by a doctor as dehydrated, to a hospital because of her staunch vegan stance.

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Sarah Anne Markham was arrested Tuesday on a charge of child neglect.

According to Casselberry police, a pediatrician told Markham that her baby needed to be admitted to Florida Hospital South for treatment because the child was dehydrated and was losing weight.

Markham, however, went home and would not answer when officers knocked at her door.

Police used a locksmith to enter the apartment and interviewed Markham, who said she wanted to get a second opinion about her child, according to a police report.

Police said Markham told them that she wanted to pursue a religious-based treatment and did not believe that her baby was dehydrated because the child was having bowel movements.

Markham said she had contacted a "natural" or "vegan" doctor but was unable to provide any information about him, other than a name.

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Markham said she did not give the formula/medicine that the doctor provided because she did not agree with the ingredients, which she said came from animals, the police report stated.

Markham said she purchased organic soy formula, and when asked if she confirmed with a doctor if it was safe for a newborn, she said that if Whole Foods Market sells it then the formula doesn't contain any animal parts and, therefore, must be safe, according to police.

She then said she would take the child to Florida Hospital South but only because she was being forced to, according to authorities.  About an hour later, however, she was still at home and was placed under arrest.

While en route to jail, according to police, Markham had a carefree attitude, even though she was told that she was not going to be allowed to see her child until a court hearing.

The baby was taken to Florida Hospital South for treatment and was placed into state custody.

Markham later bonded out of jail.

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