The U.S. Army is investigating whether recruiters from one of its Ohio recruiting stations made a 20-year-old man diet to death, Fox8.com reports.
Army recruit Glenni Wilsey, of Vermilion, Ohio, died due to acute cardiac dysrhythmia from an electrolyte imbalance brought on by dieting, according to Lorain County Coroner Dr. Paul Matus.
Wilsey's mother, Lora Bailey, said she's convinced that recruiters from a recruiting station in Sandusky caused her son's death.
"I looked at him in that hospital and I knew exactly why he died, nobody had to tell me," said Bailey, who has has vowed to fight for a change in the military's policies and procedures when counseling young people on weight loss.
"I'll be damned if this'll ever happen again," she told the station.
Wilsey was determined to enlist in the Army's EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Unit. Bailey claims he was told he needed to lose 70 pounds in a matter of months in order to go active duty.
"Glenn had never failed at anything ... and he wasn't going to fail at this," she said.
Bailey said army recruiters pushed Wilsey to sweat weight off by wearing a wet suit under two sweat suits while wrapped in a waist band. She says they encouraged him to run for hours on 800 calories a day. Purging, she says, was encouraged.
"It was the vomiting on 800 calories a day diet,'" she said.
A senior class picture of Wilsey in his high school football uniform shows a healthy looking teenager about six-feet-tall and weighing roughly 270 pounds. The photo is a stark contrast to one taken earlier this month in which Wilsey's upper body appears emaciated, his skin clinging to his clavicle and shoulder bones. Bailey said her son was told he still had seven pounds to lose when the picture was taken, the station reports.
Wilsey collapsed in his Vermilion home shortly after the last picture was taken and died a short while later. The young man had reportedly lost 85 pounds in three and a half months, weighing 197 pounds the day he died.
Bailey, a 41-year-old mother of three, says she intends to fight for changes in the Army's recruiting process so that no one else will be put at risk by what she called irresponsible advice given to her son.
The Chief of Public Affairs for the Army's Cleveland Recruiting Battalion said in a statement to Fox 8 that: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Glenni Wilsey. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to his family and friends during this time of grief and pain. There is a pending investigation regarding the death of Glenni Wilsey. We are confident that all details pertaining to this unfortunate loss will be revealed and appropriate actions will be taken based upon those findings."