Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
VERMILION, Ohio — A man who shed 85 pounds off his 280-pound frame in less than four months to try to get into the Army died, in part, because of extreme dieting, a coroner ruled.
Glenni “Glenn” Wilsey V, of Vermilion, began the diet before he talked to recruiters in December and died earlier this month, 7 pounds short of his goal.
The Army said it was investigating and couldn’t comment on whether recruiters coached Wilsey in his weight-loss regimen.
The 20-year-old’s mother, Lora Bailey, said recruiters gave her son advice and encouraged self-induced vomiting.
She said she pleaded with her son to stop the extreme dieting, but he followed suggestions from recruiters.
He had enlisted Feb. 11, but his weight delayed his deployment.
“He’d say, ‘Mom, these guys know what they’re talking about.’ He believed what the recruiters were telling him over what I was telling him,” she said.
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Paul Matus blamed the death March 3 on an irregular heartbeat due to electrolyte imbalance with a contributing factor of extreme dieting and purging.
The Army investigation was ordered by the commander of the Cleveland Recruiting Battalion.
Douglas Smith, spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command headquarters in Fort Knox, Ky., said Friday the matter was under investigation.
He expressed condolences to the family but said he couldn’t comment in detail.