Army Recruiters Made Son Diet to Death
By Lorrie Taylor Fox 8 Reporter
March 25, 2011
The U.S. Army is investigating whether recruiters from its Sandusky
recruiting station caused a Vermilion man to diet to death.
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Paul Matus ruled Glenni Wilsey, 20, died
due to acute cardiac dysrhythmia from an electrolyte imbalance
brought on by dieting.
"I'll be damned if this'll ever happen again," said Wilsey's mother,
Lora Bailey, who has vowed to fight for a change in the military's
policies and procedures when counseling young people on weight loss.
"I looked at him in that hospital and I knew exactly why he died,
nobody had to tell me," she told Fox 8.
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, at anything, and he wasn't going
to fail at this," she said.
Bailey claims 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,'" Bailey said.
A senior picture of Wilsey in his high school football uniform shows
a healthy looking teenager about six feet tall weighing roughly 270 pounds.
Another picture taken in the third week of February shows a chiseled
young man with muscular arms. Bailey said Wilsey was told he still
hadn't met the army's standards for height and weight.
Less than two weeks later, Wilsey took another picture. His upper
body appeared emaciated, his skin clinging to his clavicle and
shoulder bones. Bailey says her son still had seven pounds to lose
when he took the picture.
Two days later he collapsed in their Vermilion home and died a short
while later. He had lost 85 pounds in 3 and a half months. Wilsey
weighed 197 pounds the day he died.
"I have to live with the fact that I allowed this to happen to my
son," said an emotional Bailey.
The 41-year-old mother of three says she intends to fight for changes
in the army's recruiting process so that no one else's son or
daughter will be put at risk by irresponsible advice like that which
she says was given to her boy.
The Chief of Public Affairs for the Army's Cleveland Recruiting
Battalion told Fox 8, "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."
According to his mother, Wilsey was an honor student who lettered in
football, practiced Buddhism, was an accomplished artist and an organ
donor. Bailey asks other military families with similar stories to
come forward so that together their voices will be heard and changes
will be made.
"They had no right to take his life, whether on purpose or not," said Bailey.