MEEKER, Okla. – An Oklahoma man has been arrested and is facing neglect and child abuse charges after his teenage son was found severely malnourished.
Jimmy Jones was arrested on charges of child abuse and neglect, allegedly abused his 15-year-old son so severely that doctors are surprised he survived. Jones’ wife and stepsons were also arrested for child neglect, according to KFOR. Neighbors say the family seemed like nice, normal people. “From the outside, you would never suspect something was going on,” Lincoln County District Attorney Adam Panter.
Officials say someone called the Department of Human Services after passing by the Jones home and becoming alarmed at seeing the visibly malnourished boy in a field. The teen weighed only 80 pounds and reportedly didn’t look his age.
“About a month ago, we were just working on the fence and a little boy came up; we thought he was an eight-year-old — really scrawny, real short, you know — barefoot,” neighbor Zach Guy said.
Guy saw the boy again, but this time with injuries. “Little while later, we saw him come up, bruise on his head. We thought maybe he got into an accident in the barn,” Guy said.
Police say the teen told investigators the head wound came from his father, and that he was never given medical attention for the injury. “At one point, his father had pulled maggots out of him and super-glued it shut, telling him that doctors were too expensive to take him to,” Panter said.
The boy also told police about being shot by his father. “He been shot by his dad with a shotgun with bird shot, and X-rays revealed he did have shotgun pellets still lodged in his leg,” Panter said.
Officials say the boy was living in a barn on family property in Lincoln County, where four adults and a four-year-old girl lived inside the family’s house. All appeared to be healthy.
Animals on the property were also in excellent health, but not the boy. “He had to forage for his own food. He wasn’t allowed food from inside the house,” Panter said.
Instead, he ate twigs and grass, slept on an old couch, and had one book to occupy his time. “The doctors at OU Children’s Hospital, after treating him and testing him and evaluating him, determined that have he not been found he would have been dead of starvation within a week,” Panter said.
Investigators believe Jones began the abuse two years ago when the teen was taken out of school.