Ryan and Sheila O'Leary vegan manslaughter
A vegan couple's toddler died of malnutrition while they fed him almost nothing but raw fruit and vegetables, say police.

The 18-month-old boy weighed only 17lbs when he died in the care of his parents Ryan and Sheila O'Leary on September 27, according to police.

Sheila, 35, told police the boy was born at home, had never seen a doctor before and was fed a diet of raw fruit and vegetables, including mangoes, rambutans, bananas and avocados.

When he died, she said, he hadn't eaten food in a week - she thought it was because he was teething - and he was being breastfed.

The O'Learys have been charged with negligent manslaughter and child neglect.

Police said stay-at-home mum Sheila told a detective she was breastfeeding her son at about 4am when he began to have shallow breathing.

She was worried because it was the first time it had happened, but said she didn't call for help because she fell asleep.

He was pronounced dead at the family home in Cape Coral, Florida, after his mum woke up and noticed he wasn't breathing and was cold.

She dialled 911 as her 30-year-old husband tried to resuscitate the boy, police wrote in an affidavit obtained by the Fort Myers News-Press.

The boy's death was caused by complications of malnutrition, including dehydration, liver problems and swelling of his hands, feet and lower legs, a post-mortem found.

Sheila told police her son's feet had been swollen off and on for weeks and he wasn't walking as much as he had been previously.

Police said the boy weighed just 17lbs, the average weight of a seven-month-old.

The average weight for an 18-month-old is 24lbs 1oz.