TOQUERVILLE, Utah, July 18, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The mother of a boy found nearly starved to death after being locked in a feces-filled bathroom has pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree felony child abuse in the case.
The 12-year-old son of Brandy Jaynes weighed only 30 pounds when he was examined by doctors on Jan. 8. That’s about a third of the average weight for a boy that age, according to a government chart from the Center for Disease Control. The case sparked worldwide outrage when the news broke.
Jaynes 36, pleaded guilty in 5th District Court to three counts of second-degree felony child abuse on Tuesday. She will be sentenced on Aug. 28 to one to 15 years for each count, and could spend as long as 45 years in prison.
Jaynes also faces an Aug. 8 court date to determine future parental rights and visitation for her children.
Lt. David Crouse said in January that the boy had been locked up for at least one year, maybe two. His father, who reportedly did not live at the residence, took the child to a local hospital for treatment.
According to a probable cause statement, a doctor at the Dixie Regional Medical Center called it “the worst case of malnutrition he has ever seen.”
After a judge approved a search warrant, officers went to the Toquerville residence, which one officer described as “horrific.”
“During a search of the home, detectives located an upstairs bathroom that the victim’s mother admitted to being the room the victim stayed in,” the probable cause statement said.
Officers found a few empty bean cans and a spoon in the shower. The shower’s drain was covered with duct tape, and the light switch reportedly had been taped in the “off” position.
“The victim’s mother stated her son wanted to sleep in this bathroom. She stated she would occasionally lock her son in the bathroom for his safety when she would leave the house. She also stated she was attempting to feed her son protein drinks to get his weight up.”
The boy reportedly was taken out of school three years ago. His two siblings continued to go to school, and showed no signs of abuse.
Several months after the boy was taken into protective custody, officials reported his condition was improving.