Darin MacDannald of Broward County, Florida was arrested on Tuesday after authorities accused him of starving and abusing his 14-year-old child, according to press reports. MacDannald, 47, was booked into Broward County Jail on charges of cruelty toward a child and infliction of physical/mental injury. He remains incarcerated there in lieu of $7,500 bail bond, sources indicate. It is not clear whether he has hired a private criminal defense attorney.
According to news reports, MacDannald was apprehended on Tuesday at his residence in Deerfield Beach. The home was apparently on fire at the time. Officials have not yet determined the cause of the blaze, but an investigation is underway. It is not clear whether officials are considering the possibility of arson.
Inside of the home, officials reportedly discovered the 14-year-old boy. It is not clear where MacDannald was at the time. It does not appear as though the minor or anyone else was injured by the fire. However, the boy was taken to Broward Health Coral Springs due to his deplorable condition. The boy remains unnamed in public reports due to his age.
Press reports indicate that when he was found, the teen had red blotches on his legs and was physically filthy. He was also unresponsive, suffering from malnutrition, and weighed 85 pounds. The average weight for a 14-year-old male in the United States is nearly 120 pounds
The teen was also discovered to be under the influence of an in possession of several types of illegal drugs. His urine reportedly tested positive for marijuana, cocaine, opiates (common opiates include heroin and morphine), and barbiturates (depressants), and he was in possession of cocaine, multiple unidentified pills, and a cigarette. It is not clear whether he is addicted to any of the substances. If so, he will likely be suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms in the hospital.
Authorities reportedly believe that the use of cocaine may be one reason why the teen is so underweight. Cocaine is an appetite suppressant, and heavy use can result in significant weight loss, a doctor at the medical center was quoted as telling local press. It remains to be seen when the boy will retain normal health.
MacDannald evidently told investigators that he had no idea where his son had gotten the cocaine and other drugs he was using. The pills, however, were purportedly prescribed to MacDannald, to told detectives that he had done his best to keep them away from the teen. It is not known whether investigators are searching for the person or persons who may have been supplying the boy with cocaine and marijuana.
During MaDannald’s initial court hearing, a judge told MacDannald that he had not provided the boy with proper care, saying that the teen was “catatonic.” The boy had reportedly lived with MacDannald for years, as the child’s mother lives in another state. It is not clear how long the boy may have been using drugs. He will likely be placed in a shelter under the Department of Children and Families until a suitable home can be found for him.