On Sunday, Utah police were called to Dixie Regional Medical Center after a severely malnourished child was brought in by his father.
The call would lead investigators to “one of the worst cases of child abuse” they had ever seen.
According to KSL, an unnamed father found his 12-year-old son locked in a bathroom at his wife's house. An official Washington County jail report states that the child was laying on the floor with a blanket. He weighed just 30 pounds. According to Washington County Sheriff's Lt. David Crouse, first responders said the boy was so weak he could not stand up on his own.
The administering doctor called it the worst case of malnutrition he had ever seen.
According to Lt. Crouse, the boy had been locked in the bathroom for almost two years.
When investigators went to the home of the young boy with a search warrant, what they found is enough to make any decent human being's stomach churn.
The outside door of the bathroom where the boy was reportedly kept had a lock on it. Inside were empty cans of beans and a spoon scattered in the shower; the drain was duct taped closed. Feces were everywhere. The light switches were duct taped in the “off” position, and the cabinets duct taped closed as well.
On the ledge of the shower, reports ABC 4 Utah, they found a video camera and a baby monitor.
Lt. Crouse tells KSL the camera allowed the boy's mother to monitor him from her cell phone, while the baby monitor allowed her to give instructions, to which they boy could not reply. Lt. Crouse tells KSL:
“I've seen other horrible things, but this is one of those things I'll never forget. I wish I could unsee it.”
The boy's mother, 36-year-old Brady K. Jaynes, has been charged with second-degree child abuse. According to WPXI, she is being held on $20,000 bail.
According to reports, Lt. Crouse said the boy had two siblings who did not show signs of abuse. They are currently in state custody.
The siblings, reports KSL — who have not been named and their ages are not known — were in school and didn't tell anyone about what was going on. Their brother, however, had been pulled out of school three years ago. Heartbreakingly, one of the siblings told investigators he hadn't spoken to his brother through the bathroom door in over six months.
At this time, investigators are still trying to understand the role of the boy's father in this case. According to KSL, Lt. Crouse said they know that Jaynes and her husband were separated, but they do not know how long it had been since the father had last seen his son.
The crime has rocked the family's neighbors. John Hammer tells ABC 4 Utah he had given the boy's siblings rides to and from the bus stop, but didn't know they had another sibling:
“All I've ever seen is the mom, the dad, and the two kids. I had no idea there was ever a third child. But if he was locked up for who knows how long, nobody around here, I'm sure, ever knew.”
Another neighbor, Roger Lichfield, said:
“You can't even comprehend that it even happened. I still can't comprehend it.”
The horrible neglect and abuse happening unbeknownst to anyone outside the home has led some neighbors to feel partly responsible. Rosie Shoemaker said:
“It's heartbreaking. Oh my gosh, I feel like I neglected the child because I didn't know about it.”
As for Jaynes, KSL reports that documents claim she said the boy wanted to sleep in the bathroom, and admitted to locking him in the bathroom for his own safety when she left the house. She also said she fed him protein drinks to get his weight up.
The boy is expected to be hospitalized for three weeks.