UPDATE: On Friday, the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office amended the charges of Hubert, Chad and Robin Kraemer and Sarah Travioli, who all tested positive for meth and some for THC.
This afternoon we got our first look at the four suspects charged in the death of 9 year old Cameron Hoopingarner.
Cameron was blind and suffered Cerebral Palsy. But it’s suffering of another kind that has horrified so many. Cameron starved to death.
All four suspects are charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and failure to make a report.
Sheriff Greg Ewing says in his 26 years on the job, this is the worst case he’s seen.
“Took care of him for 9 years. He was sick that’s why he died, he was sick.”
Chad Kraemer shouted as a contingent of law enforcement escorted him and the other suspects into the Vigo County Courthouse Thursday afternoon. This was the initial court appearance for Hubert, Robin and Chad Kraemer and Sarah Travioli.
The suspects cried in the courtroom, some even shouted and struggled with officers.
We heard the reaction of some community members about the charges.
“I don’t know how a kid could starve in his own home,” Luke Orozco said.
The probable cause affidavit states that Cameron was under the legal custody of Robin Kraemer who told authorities Cameron had not seen a doctor in over a year. He suffered from pneumonia for the past week and the flu for the past several days.
She told detectives that Cameron ate baby food, detectives report finding very little food for Cameron in the home.
Cameron only weighed 14.8 pounds at the time of his death. Pathologist, Dr. Roland Kohr ruled his death a homicide.
This caused us to look further into the requirements legal guardians have over their dependents.
“The guardian is responsible for the basic needs of the child, food shelter and also if you have a child who has special needs, to make sure that child is receiving the medical care that the child needs,” Noah Gambill said.
Attorney Noah Gambill says anyone can become a guardian if they show clear and compelling reasons it’s in the best interest of the child or there is consent from the parents.
“That guardian has a great deal of responsibility, the parents still have parental rights, but that guardian has the legal responsibility of that child and to do what’s in that child’s best interest.”
There was plenty of support in the courtroom today for the suspects. We talked to some nearby residents earlier in the day who say the guardians took good care of Cameron. Two other children were removed from the home, ages 3 and 5 who are in the custody of protective services. At a press conference last night, Sheriff Ewing said Cameron did not got to school.