Cape Coral husband and wife arrested for their child’s death

A Cape Coral husband and wife were arrested for child neglect after police found their baby dead in their home.

Cape Coral Police Department arrested suspects Ryan O’Leary, 30, and Sheila O’Leary, 35 after police went to their home and found their 18-month-old son was not breathing and was later pronounced dead at the family’s home.

The O’Leary’s 18-month-old son’s cause of death was determined to be due to extreme malnutrition.

Ryan and Sheila also have three other children. Their two daughters, who are 5 years old and 3 years old, showed signs of being underweight. And their oldest, an 11-year-old daughter, is not Ryan O’Leary’s biological child. And she is believed to be in good condition.

“It’s just always super sad to hear something like that,” neighbor Amanda Brown said.

According to the state attorney’s office, “Mrs. O’Leary had a prior case out of the state of Virginia where the eldest child, the 11-year-old, had previously been under the care of [Florida Department of Children & Families] and watch, as she had also been subjected to a failure to thrive and severe malnutrition.”

The state attorney’s office also noted the family was not facing any form of food insecurity, since Ryan was employed at a local grocery store.

“Coincidentally, he was also working at a Whole Foods, so it was not lack of access to food that subjected these children to starvation,” per the state attorney’s office.

Neighbor Sara Cagle said she never knew the O’Leary family, but wishes she could have helped.

“As a neighbor, I wish there was something that I would’ve known,” Cagle said. “And as a mom, it’s horrible — it’s horrible.”

Ryan and Sheila have not had custody of the children since police contact in September, but charges are now being filed.

Ryan and Sheila both face charges for Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child (Neglect), Child Neglect Causing Great Bodily Harm and Child Neglect Without Great Bodily Harm.

It’s confirmed the eldest child of the O’Leary family is in the care of her biological father, and the two younger girls are in the care of DCF.

The next court appearance for Ryan and Sheila is set for Monday, Dec. 9.

Brown said the whole neighborhood is extremely saddened by the death of Ryan and Sheila’s baby boy.

“Honestly, it was just craziness to me; we weren’t sure what was going on,” Brown said. “Later on is when we found out that the child had passed away, but we weren’t sure what the circumstances were. The whole neighborhood was pretty sad about it.”

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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