TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The death of 9-year-old Cameron Hoopingarner has struck the nerve of many of you.
We’ve learned just how malnourished Cameron was as he was alarmingly less than 15 pounds. News 10’s Melissa Crash spoke with Dr. Roland Kohr, the forensic pathologist working on this case.
“I’ve done over 6,000 autopsies in my career – and this is one of the most disturbing I’ve ever done.”
A case that’s hard to believe.
Officials report Cameron suffered from cerebral palsy, was blind and basically lived in his bed.
“Try to imagine a nine-year-old, that obviously has some developmental problems and is not a normal height for a nine-year-old,” Kohr explained. “Never the less, this child is so severely malnourished that the closest thing I can think of are the pictures from World War II, concentration camps, liberation; the bodies which were stacked like wood, that were literally skin and bones. This child looked like that.”
The severity of his starvation stands out to Dr. Kohr. He says Cameron had access to social services, if his caregivers would have provided them.
Dr. Kohr compared it to being trapped in your own body.
“…can not respond, can not tell anybody how hungry they are, they’re slowing wasting away to the point where they just lose consciousness.”
Now, Dr. Kohr has seen a lot. But when it involves a helpless child, it’s tough.
“We work on trying to maintain a game face for lack of anything else,” he tried to explain. “But this was difficult. Even with all of the things I’ve seen. From plane crashes, to fire deaths, to decomposed bodies.”
At this point, Dr. Kohr says it’s about honoring Cameron and figuring out what’s next.
“To ensure this child gets a proper burial and honor their memory.”