An 11-year-old boy's frostbitten feet had to be amputated after he and his father were found living in a remote area in an abandoned bus, their only groceries two bottles of ketchup and mustard.
Douglas K. Roupe, 44, was charged with felony child neglect Friday when he was released after treatment at United Hospital Center in Clarksburg, said state police Capt. P.D. Goodman. Roupe was freed on $10,000 bond.Roupe claimed a state agency refused his request for assistance, other than giving him some food stamps.
His son, Douglas E. Roupe, was in fair condition Friday, said Bill Case, spokesman for Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Goodman said the boy's feet had been amputated.
The father and son were found Wednesday in an abandoned school bus and appeared to be suffering from malnutrition, said state Trooper G. L. Clark III.
The bus was parked in a hollow at the end of a nearly impassable road in a remote area of Doddridge County, in northern West Virginia about 150 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.
Clark said state police were called after a resident of the area reported seeing the boy and his father near the bus.
"We went inside the bus and found a foam mattress, a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of mustard," Clark said. "That was it. We asked the boy if they had any food. He said he hadn't eaten for a long time."
Troopers had to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to carry the pair out to an ambulance.
Roupe told authorities that the state Department of Health and Human Resources refused his requests for food. Goodman said Roupe indicated he received $60 in food stamps two months ago from the state.
"He said they sent him on his way and told him they couldn't do anything else for him," Goodman said.
Patty Vincent, a supervisor with the department in nearby Clarksburg, declined to comment. She did say the department can take custody of children pending court action in neglect cases.
Vincent also refused to discuss the boy's medical condition.
Clark said the pair had been living in the bus for about a month.
Temperatures in the area dipped as low as 5 degrees in early February, said John Lewis, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Charleston.
Goodman said the two apparently had built fires near the bus to keep warm.