ST. GEORGE — A Toquerville mother, accused of starving her 12-year-old son and locking him in a dirty, feces-covered bathroom, has waived her preliminary hearing on child abuse charges.
Brandy Jaynes, 36, was back in court Tuesday, appearing with her lawyer, Edward Flint, before Judge Eric Ludlow in 5th District Court on accusations of three second-degree felony counts of child abuse for intentionally inflicting serious physical injury on her 12-year-old boy.
Judge Ludlow set the matter to be brought back before the court on July 18 at 8:55 a.m. at which time Jaynes is expected to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges. If convicted, Jaynes could potentially face three consecutive one- to 15-year sentences.
The alleged abuse came to light when the 12-year-old boy’s father, Russell Jaynes, took the emaciated boy from their Toquerville home to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George on the night of Jan. 9.
The boy only weighed 30 pounds when he arrived at the hospital and was said to be one of the worst cases of child malnourishment some of the doctors had ever seen.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to the situation by medical staff and promptly began an investigation of the family’s home. Officials found a bathroom where the boy was allegedly kept for at least a year – locked away from the rest of the family including the boy’s twin sister and a younger sibling.
Officials compared what was discovered in the bathroom and the conditions the boy had been living in to something out of a horror movie. The bathroom was reportedly covered in filth and feces. Light switches inside the bathroom were reportedly taped over so they couldn’t be used.
Prosecutors alleged Jaynes watched her son lying on the bathroom floor through a baby monitor and camera set up in the locked bathroom. Hundreds of photos documenting the progression of the boy’s alleged “torture” were left on a laptop and cellphone reviewed by investigators.
Jaynes was arrested Jan. 10 on an initial felony charge addressing the accusation of starvation.
Upon further investigation, the prosecution filed two additional felony charges relating to the boy having lost the use of his legs for an extended period of time, as well as experiencing developmental, emotional and intellectual delays caused by the alleged captivity in the bathroom.
Since leaving the hospital, officials said the 12-year-old boy has been placed with a foster family. The boy’s twin sister and a younger sibling, both of whom were treated in a relatively normal fashion according to investigators, were also placed in foster case.
Russell Jaynes, who has been cooperating with authorities during the case, was later charged with a third-degree felony child abuse charge. He is also scheduled to appear in court July 18 for a potential resolution hearing.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
St. George News Reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this report.
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