Defense: 30-pound 12-year-old locked in bathroom might be autistic

ST. GEORGE – Over a week has passed since the story of a Toquerville mother who allegedly starved her 12-year-old son and locked him in a bathroom made headlines across the county and beyond. Many questions surrounding the incident remain unanswered as the case begins its run through 5th District Court and her attorney is formulating ideas on what may have contributed to the situation, one being that the child may be autistic and she was overwhelmed.

See the interviews in video top of this report.

Thirty-six-year-old Toquerville resident Brandy Jaynes made one of her initial appearances in court Tuesday. She was arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in the early morning hours of Jan. 9, according to police records, and subsequently charged with a second-degree felony for child abuse.

Brandy K. Jaynes, of Toquerville, Utah, bookings photo from Jan. 9, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Thus far a central question in the case is why Jaynes treated her son in the manner she did, yet appears to have treated his two siblings, a twin sister and a younger sibling, normal by comparison. Questions have also been asked concerning the father’s involvement and what he knew.

The boy’s father is the one who brought him to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George the evening of Jan. 8. The boy weighed 30 pounds and was the worst case of child malnourishment the doctors there had ever seen, Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. David Crouse said last week.

Investigators ultimately discovered the boy had been living in a bathroom at home where he was allegedly locked in the dark for extended periods of time, Crouse said. The bathroom was reported to be covered in filth and feces. Light switches in the room were also reported to be heavily taped over so they would couldn’t be used, and the door was locked from the outside.

Investigators believe the boy was kept in the bathroom for a year or longer.

As for the boy’s father, he has been cooperating with authorities. His identity has not yet been made public. Whether or not he faces any charges related to the case has yet to be seen.

The situation is still unfolding,” Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said. “The investigators from the Sheriff’s Office are working hard on the case.”

Belnap wouldn’t go into details as the investigation is ongoing yet said that many of the questions surrounding the case would most likely be answered as it progresses through the court.

Ed Flint, Jaynes’ attorney, said he is currently waiting to receive and review evidence gathered by investigators, so he has yet to form an an opinion based on evidence. However, he met with Jaynes at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility Sunday and has formed a primarily, speculative opinion from what he was told.

From what he heard, Flint said, he rejects the narrative that has spun out of media reports painting the woman as an abusive mother willfully starving her child. Rather, he said, this may be a case of someone who became overwhelmed with caring for a child who might be autistic.

Everything she described was describing a child with an autism spectrum disorder, right down to the gastrointestinal problems,” Flint said.

“The things she was describing are all things I recognize from having my own adult child with autism spectrum disorder,” he said.

A reason the boy was placed in the bathroom was evidently due to continual bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, Flint said. The boy has been unable to keep down food and likely lost a lot of body weight over time because of it, he said.

This June 10, 2017, file photo shows the home in Toquerville where a 12-year-old boy was allegedly locked in a bathroom and starved by his mother, 36-year-old Brandy k. Jaynes. Jaynes’ attorney rejects the native of her being an abusive mother the media has painted her to be, and suggest there is much more to this story than is currently known, Toquerville, Utah, Jan. 10, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Jaynes disputes the accusation that her son was in the bathroom for a year or more, Flint said. Jaynes claims the conversion of the bathroom into a room for the 12-year-old was a more recent event.

She has also stated that the boy’s father lived in the home and knew what was going on, Flint said, and that he was also present when the bathroom was set up for the child.

Initial reports have stated that Jaynes and the boy’s father were separated and he wasn’t living in the house at the time.

“I’ve had a concern about what the father’s participation was in all of this,” Flint said.

As to why Jaynes put the boy in the bathroom, Flint said he believes she may have had a breakdown of some sort while trying to care for a special needs child. From his own experience, he said, he understands the stress that can be placed on a family and parents in caring for an autistic child.

These are my completely unscientific conclusions,” he said, “but I think those are sound, reasonable inferences to draw from my discussion with her.”

As to why the boy’s siblings apparently never said anything to anyone outside the home about their brother, Flint said that is another question yet to be answered.

While the boy’s twin sister and other sibling have been enrolled in public school, the boy himself was pulled out three years ago, Flint said. At the time the Washington County School District noticed something different about the child and approached Jaynes about getting the boy tested so they could narrow down what the issue could be.

That never happened as the boy was pulled out of school soon after, Flint said, adding that he hopes the boy gets some testing for potential Autism Spectrum Disorder while in state custody.

A plaque outside of the enterance of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center, St. George, Utah, Jan. 18, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Ultimately, based on the information he has at the moment, Flint said he hopes the family can be reunited with some state supervision and parental training added for good measure.

Jaynes’ next court appearance is set for Jan. 30. She currently remains incarcerated in the county jail.

In the days following the Toquerville boy’s story going viral, people began asking the Washington County Sheriff’s Office how they could help and where they could donate money and items.

After it was announced last week that the Washington County Children’s Justice Center would be the focal point for those donations, staff have seen donations of various kinds flood into the center nearly every day.

“It’s been great,” said Solinda Larsen, a victims advocate with the Children’s Justice Center.

Those items were sent to the foster family that will be caring for the boy Tuesday.

Many donations came from the community, as well as from across the nation and oversees, Larsen said. Some of those locations have included Idaho, Nebraska, California, Canada and England.

Those wishing to make monetary donations can do so on the center’s website here.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • Proud Rebel January 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I see where the defense is going here. First off, he is laying the groundwork for a change of venue, due to the influence of media reports on this stiuation.
    Second, either “spread the blame,” or “some other dude did it,” by trying to implicate the father. The person who rescued this child.
    Third, insanity at time of occurrence. This is clear by his statement “this may be a case of someone who became overwhelmed with caring for a child who might be autistic,” and then with another statement, “Flint said he believes she may have had a breakdown of some sort while trying to care for a special needs child.”
    And then he makes the idiotic statement, “Ultimately, based on the information he has at the moment, Flint said he hopes the family can be reunited with some state supervision and parental training added for good measure.”

    What any GOOD scum sucking, bottom feeding, defense attorney would do…

  • comments January 19, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I pretty much suspect the boy had some form of mental retardation or autism. My firm belief at this point is that “autism” is actually a form of brain damage and is more than likely caused completely or in part by an unsafe regimen of vaccines. This boy will likely need to be a ward of the state for the rest of his life. As for the mother, she should have surrendered the child over to the state well before his health deteriorating to the point it did. No one wins in these type of situations.

    • comments January 19, 2017 at 11:58 am


      as in suspected it from the original article

    • RandomHuman January 19, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Are you trying to say that vaccines are causing brain damage/autism? There has been zero proof supporting that theory and it has actually been disproven many times. The young man who has been locked in the bathroom for the past year wins because he is now free to live his life without being locked away like a prisoner.

      • .... January 20, 2017 at 11:29 am

        LOL ! Don’t mind Bob he’s just a hateful bigot who thinks he knows everything

      • comments January 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        “There has been zero proof supporting that theory and it has actually been disproven many times”

        Those putting out this kind of false narrative are the ones profiting from vaccines. It’s far from “settled science”. There’s a reason why vaccine makers have a special gov’t exemption from any type of litigation. There products have damaged many many children.

    • sagemoon January 20, 2017 at 8:56 am

      I don’t know about vaccines, there is a lot of mixed evidence. I, however, believe that many damaged children are the products of parents who used meth.

      • comments January 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

        Meth, alcohol, heroine, rx drugs, etc all can cause their own type of disorders. Don’t think this accounts for the majority of autistics tho.

      • zoesmum July 12, 2017 at 7:12 am

        comments that promote this narrative are both ignorant and unfair . While a very few cases may be attributed to these types of prenatal exposures The majority are NOT. By making statements like these you create a public perception that is damaging to the people who have autistic children. For the love of god PLEASE STOP.

  • ladybugavenger January 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Everyone is entitled to a defense, however, there is no rational defense for this. Autism defense? Overwhelmed? Sounds like you’re blaming the child.

    There is no defense. A good mother wouldn’t do this to their child. An evil mother would. She is evil. There is no defense for evil. She is Guilty!

    The father? Had to know previously but looked away until he couldn’t look away anymore. Is he guilty? Probably. But he did come forward and step up and take the child to hospital before death occurred. He finally did the right thing.

    The mother is guilty as all sin.

    • comments January 19, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      idk if she’s evil. I seen so much worse things reported in news and what not this really doesn’t make the label of ‘evil’ from what’s been reported. She probly has mental problems or something. A lot of parents don’t know what to do with these “autistic” children. Society in general doesn’t know what to do with them. She is def guilty of neglect tho, but at this point im not sure if there was malice.

      • ladybugavenger January 20, 2017 at 8:47 am

        We can agree to disagree. Clean up the feces, that’s a start. I’m sure she was overwhelmed and gave up, but thats not an excuse to leave a child in a feces bathroom. Clean the crap up! I’m not sure about mental illness since her other kids weren’t in harm. She needs to take responsibility of her neglectful actions. Hello? He was 30lbs and needed a doctor. She knew what she was doing or not doing. What stopped her from reaching out and getting the kid help? Pride?

        I will take your comment into consideration. But as it stands, I say evil. And yes, there is a lot of evil in the world and some are more obvious than others.

      • .... January 20, 2017 at 11:31 am

        This is to much. the hateful bigot Bob is judging someone else. LOL !

      • ladybugavenger January 20, 2017 at 12:12 pm

        Oh and yes a mental illness defense would be the route to go, you can get any psychiatrist to give a mental illness diagnosis. Is that the root? Not in my eyes. She may find a jury to buy into mental illness since it’s a popular term used. I’ve thought hard about your side and I still say evil, New Years Bob. Blessing to you!

        • comments January 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm

          yep, true about psychiatrists. you rly can get any psychiatrist to give a mental illness diagnosis, lol. I been watching serial killer documentaries, and this rly doesn’t compare to the worst kinds of depravity people are capable of. So even if this is some degree of evil, the question is whats a fitting punishment?

          • ladybugavenger January 20, 2017 at 7:31 pm

            No Bob, this does not compare to serial killers. I also watch serial killer documentaries and movies. That’s a whole different level not to compared to this. HaHa! Bob! Your comment makes sense now.

          • ladybugavenger January 20, 2017 at 8:17 pm

            Fitting punishment? Not sure they know what that is in southern Utah. Perhaps, the DA will say she has suffered enough and after parenting classes and autism education she will get her son back. But if she hasn’t been attending church then the punishment will be harsher and might include jail and not getting her son back.

      • zoesmum July 12, 2017 at 7:18 am

        If starving and imprisoning your child to the point that he can no longer use his limbs is not evil and without malice than I dont know what evil is. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Why must people talk about “autistics” like they are garbage?

  • Wolverine January 20, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Some people should just not be allowed to have children. You need a license to fish, own a gun, get married, A permit to hike some trails, canyons etc, but any unqualified idiot can have children. Having children is a priviledge and should be treated as such. You cannot choose how they develop physiologically, or genetically, you get to raise who you give birth to. There’s no returns on this item or trade ins. If you don’t like having a child with a disability, then really THINK before you reproduce, because instances of birth defects and autism are on the rise in this country. Take steps to avoid getting pregnant if you don’t want to take that risk. There are prenatal tests that can be done while pregnant to measure some things, but not for autism. (not that I’ve heard of anyway) That also opens a whole can of ethical “worms” so to speak on what you choose to do with that information, should a test come back positive. (Another whole other conversation not pertaining to this instance) Perhaps Adoption is best for those that have high risk genetics in their family makeup. Point is, you don’t treat any living creature this way, this boy was left to his own care in a locked room with no comfort and contact. That alone is abuse to a child in my eyes, not to mention the poor nutrition that was forced upon him. Children require CARE, they require human interaction and not being ignored. Yes, raising a child is hard, it may also require that they are in diapers their whole lives, due to special needs or poor health, that is you JOB as a parent. Don’t like it, then DON’T HAVE KIDS if you cannot sign up for that possibility. I feel angry that most people just assume they have the right to have children, without really thinking about the responsibility and “am I even qualified to do this?” before taking that leap.

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