Comments Off on Methamphetamine-using mother, Brandy Jaynes, 36, of Toquerville, starved, locked her own 12-year-old son in feces-covered ‘torture chamber’ for years

A mother in southern Utah, who admitted to starving her son while locking him in a feces-covered bathroom, was sentenced up to 45 years in prison on Monday. 

Brandy Jaynes, 36, pleaded guilty to causing her son extreme malnutrition, emotional and mental delays, and protracted use of limbs, The Spectrum reports. She was ordered to serve three 1 to 15 year sentences consecutively in Utah State Prison.

In January, the 12-year-old boy’s father, Russell Jaynes, rescued him from the mother’s house, and found him lying in a blanket on a feces-covered bathroom floor. The door was locked from the outside, and had an audible alarm system to alert Jaynes if the boy tried to escape. She also connected a baby monitor to show a live feed into the bathroom.

After witnessing his son’s horrid condition, Russell took the boy to the hospital, where a doctor said he weighed only 33 pounds.

The boy was low on vitamins, his skin was peeling, and he suffered pressure sores from lying in the same spots on “his bony extremities,” according to The Spectrum.

Crime scene evidence led officials to believe that the boy was held in isolation for about 7 to 8 years.

Officials said that Jaynes “continually lied” to Russell and prevented him from seeing the boy for more than a year– by making verbally violent threats and excuses, The Spectrum reports.

The boy did not appear in Jaynes’ court hearings, but wrote a letter describing the mother’s cruelty.

“Instead of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would only get one meal of a couple of hot dogs every other day for months, the letter stated. “I felt frozen when I was drenched with ice cold water in the winter.”

The defense attorney said to The Spectrum that Jaynes dealt with “personal issues” and “became addicted to heroin and Methamphetamine” about four months before the boy was found by his father.

He also said Jaynes felt “overwhelmed by having a child with severe special needs,” The Spectrum reports.

“This is the story of a woman who began to fail in her duties to her family, in particular to one son who needed help in a different matter, and she failed in that regard and things got worse,” the attorney said to The Spectrum.

The boy, now 13 years old, showed signs that he still wants a relationship with his mother, stating in his letter that “she did horrible things to me, but she’s still my mom.”

Russell faces charges of third-degree felony reckless child abuse, for allegedly not helping the child soon enough, officials said to The Spectrum. He is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 19.

Mother arrested for allegedly locking malnourished son in bathroom

A 12-year-old boy is being treated in the “worst case of malnutrition” a St. George doctor has ever seen, according to court documents in a child abuse case.

Toquerville resident Brandy Kay Jaynes, 36, was arrested on a second-degree felony charge of aggravated, intentional child abuse early Monday morning. She’s being held on a $20,000 cash-only bail.

According to the probable cause statement in the case, a detective from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to a child abuse call at Dixie Regional Medical Center’s emergency room on Sunday.

“I could see … a small-framed child that appeared to be very skinny,” the officer wrote in the report.

The victim’s father was present, and he told detectives he transported his son to the hospital after he found him locked in an upstairs bathroom inside the mother’s home, according to the statement. He allegedly told authorities he found his son lying on the floor of the bathroom under a blanket.

The boy weighed just 30 pounds — what the Centers for Disease Control determines the average weight of a 2-year-old to be.

The DRMC doctor told detectives the victim will be hospitalized for at least three weeks to get healthy again, the statement reads.

A search warrant for the home was drafted, approved by 5th District Court Judge Jeffrey Wilcox, and executed by the WCSO.

The officer wrote in the report that detectives found the bathroom in the home, and they observed two latches on the exterior of the bathroom door, as to lock the door from the outside.

According to the statement, detectives entered the bathroom and observed feces covering the floor. The toilet bowl was “full of feces to the point that you could not see any water,” according to the report.

Detectives found a few empty cans of beans in the shower, and the shower’s drain was covered in duct tape. Detectives located a video camera and baby monitor duct-taped to the shower’s ledge, the report alleges.

The father told detectives a sheet was covering the bathroom door, and, according to the report, detectives also uncovered a sheet draped on one side of the bathroom door, as described by the child’s father.

The victim’s mother allegedly told detectives her son chose to live and sleep in the bathroom, the statement reads, and she said she would occasionally lock him in the bathroom “for his safety when she would leave the house.” The report alleges the mother also said she was trying to keep her son’s weight up by feeding him protein drinks.

During her initial court appearance Monday via video conference, Jaynes told Wilcox she had two other children who aren’t living with her. Wilcox appointed defense attorney Ariel Taylor to represent her.

Jaynes will appear in court again Jan. 17.



Mother in ‘horrific’ child abuse case gets more charges

State prosecutors have added two additional charges against the Toquerville woman who allegedly locked her son in a bathroom and starved him.

The additional charges are the same as the initial charge Brandy Kay Jaynes received upon her arrest early in January: aggravated, intentional child abuse — all of which are second-degree felonies.

Jaynes, 36, appeared in 5th District Court Monday before Judge John J. Walton via video conference. Despite objections from the state to move forward with a preliminary hearing next Monday, defense attorney Edward Flint was granted additional time to prepare for the hearing in lieu of the additional charges.

“(Walton) agreed with my assessment that we can’t have a preliminary hearing if we’re alleging three separate theories with the amended information,” Flint said. “I need time to prepare for that.”

In essence, the amended information is two additional charges filed against Jaynes based on further investigation of the case, Deputy County Attorney Angie Reddish-Day said. The initial charge was based on the malnutrition and starvation the 12-year-old suffered, and the two additional charges stem from information gathered by doctors and psychologists who continue to evaluate the victim.

In addition to the malnutrition, Reddish-Day said the victim has suffered a protracted loss of use of his limbs, which led to the second amended charge. Developmental and intellectual delays the victim suffered while “in captivity” were the basis of the third charge, Reddish-Day said.

Flint said he will file an objection to the amended charges after reviewing the specific facts laid out by the state on each additional charge.

New information in this case has the potential to impact the victim’s father’s case, Reddish-Day said. Russel Jaynes, 40, was charged with reckless child abuse, a third-degree felony, on Feb. 14. Court records indicate Russel Jaynes filed a petition for divorce shortly after Brandy Jaynes was arrested.

Flint said Jaynes remains to live in the booking area of the Washington County Jail without a proper cell.

“She does get regular showers and meals, but she’s still essentially in solitary confinement without her own cell because the jail says they have no other place they can put her,” Flint said.

Jaynes was denied a reduction of her $20,000 cash-only bail in February. At that hearing, Flint alleged that Jaynes was living in “torturous” conditions at the jail.

As for the 12-year-old, Reddish-Day said he’s continuing to improve under state custody and services. The Washington County Children’s Justice Center is still fielding gifts and funds for the victim from people across the globe.

According to the probable cause statement filed in the case, police responded to Dixie Regional Medical Center on a child abuse call and reported that the 12-year-old boy weighed just 30 pounds. A search warrant of the child’s home was drafted and executed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and detectives allegedly discovered the bathroom the boy was living in, which was covered in feces and locked only from the outside.

Reddish-Day said detectives found hundreds of images on Jaynes’ computer and cell phone that depicted her son lying on the bathroom floor in the same position over a long period of time. A video camera and baby monitor were also uncovered in the room, which Reddish-Day said was used to live-feed the footage to her devices.

Prosecutors have reason to believe the 12-year-old was locked in the bathroom for at least one year, Reddish-Day said.


Jaynes denied bail reduction, husband also charged with child abuse

The Toquerville mother accused of locking her 12-year-old son in a bathroom for months at a time was denied a bail reduction at a hearing Tuesday morning, where she physically appeared in court for the first time.

Despite attempts made by state prosecutors, Brandy Kay Jaynes’ bail was not enhanced, either, at the hearing.

Defense attorney Edward Flint and Deputy County Attorney Angie Reddish-Day argued various facts and new information about the case well into the hour, with 5th District Court Judge Eric Ludlow eventually interrupting the arguments and ruling that the $20,000 cash-only bail is appropriate at this time. The bail hearing request surfaced after Flint alleged Brandy Jaynes was being kept in “torturous” conditions while being held at the Washington County Jail.

Russel Orin Jaynes, 40, was also charged with aggravated child abuse Tuesday, and he has been summoned to appear in court on Feb. 21. According to Reddish-Day, Russel Jaynes has been cooperative in the investigation so far.

“The level of culpability between the two is night and day,” Reddish-Day said. “They’re both going to be accountable because they’re both parents, but the level of culpability is quite different.”

Russel Jaynes’ charge is a second-degree felony, while Brandy Jaynes’ is a third-degree felony. Reddish-Day said his actions fall in the reckless category, whereas Brandy Jaynes’ actions were not only reckless, but they were intentional and over a long period of time.

Court records indicate Russel Jaynes filed a petition for divorce on Jan. 31.

According to Reddish-Day, Russel Jaynes had limited knowledge of what was happening to his son even though he was living in the home. She said more information about Russel Jaynes’ involvement will come to light during future court proceedings; however, Flint argued during the hearing that Russel Jaynes knew exactly where his child was located and did nothing about it.

Alleging that Russel Jaynes “sat on his hands,” Flint said the boy was neither found nor rescued from his father, despite that initial reports from investigators indicated otherwise.

“Where the heck was he?” Flint asked. “Why did he do nothing? The state is already picking winners and losers here.”

Flint continued to argue that Brandy Jaynes should be allowed to follow the juvenile court’s orders, saying that she otherwise has limited availability to mitigate the charges against her. The juvenile court’s orders would be that she gets mental evaluations, takes parenting classes, and submits to pre-trial supervision and ankle monitoring.

Reddish-Day alleged that hundreds of photographs were found on Brandy Jaynes’ personal computer and cell phone that showed the 12-year-old lying on the bathroom’s floor in the same position over a long period of time. According to the probable cause statement, a baby monitor and video camera were recording the boy in the bathroom, Reddish-Day said it sent a live feed to Brandy Jaynes’ devices.

The 12-year-old was found locked in an upstairs bathroom of the Jaynes’ home early in January, and, according to the probable cause statement, the bathroom was covered in feces. The doctor who initially treated the victim said it was the worst case of malnutrition he had ever seen. Washington County Sheriff Office investigators reported the bathroom’s lights were duct taped in the off position, and prosecutors believe the boy was locked in the room for at least one year, although Reddish-Day said the timeline of events is still being determined.

Reddish-Day said all of Jaynes’ children, including the victim’s twin sister and 8-year-old brother, are in foster care. Reddish-Day indicated to the court that Brandy Jaynes had “brainwashed” the victim’s twin sister to believe her brother’s condition in the bathroom was OK.

“The interviews of her daughter are chilling, in that she has led her daughter to believe this was normal behavior and this is how her brother should be treated,” Reddish-Day said.

Flint claimed it was out of line for the state to take certain information from Brandy Jaynes’ private phone conversations in jail to make additional allegations. Eventually, Ludlow interrupted Flint mid-argument and said, “I’m ready to make a ruling here.”

Ludlow said Brandy Jaynes is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but she is also a danger to herself and others and poses a potential “flight risk” before the state pursues additional charges that could amount to prison time.

The state plans add at least two additional charges of aggravated child abuse to Brandy Jaynes’ case, Reddish-Day said, pending finalized medical reports. She said the boy’s medical condition continues to develop over time, and several doctors and psychologists are treating him.

Reddish-Day said the initial charge against Brandy Jaynes was based mostly on “obvious” malnutrition and starvation of the victim. Reddish-Day said the boy had lost the use of this limbs, and he’s still trying to regain full mobility.

“He cannot run, and his mobility is severely limited,” Reddish-Day said.

Flint said the state shouldn’t be allowed to introduce arguments during a bail hearing that are based on “hearsay,” and that it’s in violation of the defendant’s rights.

The allegations in the case are very serious, Flint admitted, but he also argued that Brandy Jaynes deserves to have the possibility of getting out and following juvenile court’s orders. But Reddish-Day said the state intends to request bail increases in the future.

“It’s something we will continue to address, and when we file additional charges, we will address it again,” Reddish-Day said.


Guilty: Mother admits to locking son in bathroom, starving him

After admitting to feeling “great regret and remorse” over holding her son captive and starving him in a bathroom covered in feces for more than a year, Brandy Kay Jaynes pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree child abuse on Tuesday.

Defense attorney Edward Flint said the admission of guilt was influenced mostly by Jaynes expressing that she felt it was “in the best interests of her children.”

Flint claimed it was a decision she’s mulled over for weeks. According to him, Jaynes’ two other children have been teased in school every time she goes to court and more information is brought to light.

“The benefits that could come out of (pleading guilty) would be to air out all this dirty laundry in public in exchange for maybe being found guilty for a third-degree felony instead of a second,” Flint said. “She decided it was best for her children to plead guilty.”

But for Deputy County Attorney Angie Reddish-Day, the outcome of the hearing meant Jaynes simply took responsibility for her actions.

“This is a very, very good outcome,” Reddish-Day said.

The case will continue with a sentencing hearing in late August, where the victim in the case will have the opportunity to present an impact statement in public to mark the significance the abuse has had on his life.

Reddish-Day said although the victim suffered extreme malnutrition, protracted loss of use of his limbs, and emotional and mental delays, the 12-year-old has gained a significant amount of weight and is “looking more filled out,” particularly in his facial structure.

While Jaynes’ son has “bounced back quite remarkably,” Reddish-Day said she isn’t sure what the likelihood is of him speaking publicly about the abuse he suffered.

“It is his mother, after all,” she said. “I want to talk with him along with the case workers and let him play a part in deciding whether or not he’d like to speak.”

Jaynes’ case continues in juvenile court, where a judge will determine what happens to her three children, two of whom Reddish-Day described as normal children with no outward indications of physical abuse.

Flint said Jaynes’ well-being has been adversely affected since her arrest on Jan. 12.

“In addition to the great regret, great remorse, and (feeling) horrible about what’s happened in her family and her conduct, this entire time since January she’s been held essentially in solitary confinement,” Flint said, adding that the jail hasn’t given her a normal bed to sleep on. “You kind of go stir-crazy in those circumstances.”

Following a hearing that ended in Jaynes being denied her request for a bondable bail, Flint claimed in January her jail conditions were that of “torture” since she was allegedly being denied showers and forced to sleep on a cot.

Jaynes had her son in the feces-covered bathroom while she observed him through a baby monitor, detectives reported, for what officials believe was well over a year.

A search warrant of her electronic devices revealed photos of her son lying on the bathroom while he starved and suffered malnutrition so severe that he now has a protracted loss of use of his limbs, according to Reddish-Day.

Flint said he holds firm in his belief that Jaynes did not act intentionally, however, and that she committed the crime because she was having an emotional or nervous breakdown.

“This is just how she dealt with the stress in her life,” Flint said. “She acted under extreme duress and in a very impaired mental state of being.”

Although there was no evidence Jaynes was using drugs at the time of her arrest, Flint said there is some evidence of drug use in the days and weeks proceeding it.

He said he has reason to believe the juvenile court may consider granting her some parental rights, like reunification with her children through supervised visitation, but her rights are contingent on whether or not she goes to prison. According to Utah’s standards, if a defendant has been incarcerated for one straight year or longer, his or her children are taken away.

Jaynes faces a prison sentence of at least 1 and up to 15 years for each felony count. The court will decide if those charges are ran concurrently or consecutively at her sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 28.

The victim’s father, Russel Jaynes, was also expected to appear in court Tuesday; however, his arraignment hearing was rescheduled to July 31.


Brandy Jaynes sentenced to up to 45 years in prison

The Southern Utah mother who admitted to keeping her son locked in a bathroom while she starved him under surveillance was sentenced to prison Monday afternoon.

Brandy Kay Jaynes was ordered to serve 1-15 years in Utah State Prison consecutively for three second-degree felony counts of intentional child abuse she was charged with in January, pending review from the Board of Pardons.

Jaynes, 36, pleaded guilty to causing her then-12-year-old son extreme malnutrition, protracted loss of use of limbs, and extensive emotional and mental delays earlier this month after officials found what they described as a “torture chamber” inside Jaynes’ home in Toquerville.

Fifth District Court Judge Eric Ludlow called Jaynes’ actions “deplorable” and said her son endured abuse that “no child should be subjected to.”

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, (and) I’ve never seen anything like this,” Ludlow said. “I’ve handled murder cases, rape cases, and I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s unbelievable, quite frankly.”

In a statement from Deputy County Attorney Angie Reddish-Day and testimony from Kerri Smith, the doctor who initially treated the victim at Dixie Regional Medical Center and has continued to treat for him, the court heard details of the now 13-year-old victim’s living conditions.

According to Reddish-Day, evidence from the crime scene and the victim’s testimony leads officials to believe he was held in isolation for 7-8 years.

Although the victim was not present in court, Reddish-Day read aloud a letter he wrote with the help of his foster parents.

“Instead of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would only get one meal of a couple of hot dogs every other day for months,” the victim’s statement read. “I felt frozen when I was drenched with ice cold water in the winter.”

The victim’s statement, as read by Reddish-Day, went on to describe his feelings of anger, frustration and, mostly, confusion.

Ludlow pointed out “a particularly heart-wrenching” paragraph in the letter in which the boy expressed he would like to see his mother again someday.

“She did horrible things to me, but she’s still my mom,” the statement read. “I feel safe now. I started feeling safe when I got away from her.”

According to court record, the victim was found locked in a bathroom that was covered in feces. The bathroom locked from the outside with a mechanism that Reddish-Day described as something that was “set up for confinement specifically,” adding that the lock was located at the top of the door and was also equipped with an audible alarm.

Several photos of the crime scene were booked into evidence, and Reddish-Day described the still photos a baby monitor had captured while sending a live-feed of footage to Jaynes’ computer and cell phone, as to monitor the victim while he starved.

“It’s just sickening — there’s no other word for it,” Reddish-Day said.

The photos depicted the victim lying on the floor of the bathroom in “what is clearly extreme distress and hopelessness,” whereas the only space on the floor that was not covered in feces was on the blanked he lied on.

According to Smith, the victim weighed 33 pounds when he was booked into the hospital and he was “well below” the growth chart standards for height and weight.

The boy’s liver enzymes were elevated, he was low in vitamins, his skin was peeling, he had pressure sores from lying in the same spots on his “bony extremities,” and he could hardly take any steps.

“He was in a lot of pain,” the doctor testified.

During his argument, defense attorney Edward Flint said because of the hyperbole and inflammatory labels Jaynes’ case has been given, he was unable to accurately defend her, he said.

As the case has unfolded since January, much Flint’s defense on Jaynes’ behalf has been that she did not act intentionally, and that the abuse was a way she “dealt with the stress in her life,” adding there was evidence of drug use in the days and weeks preceding her arrest.

“It’s impossible to put a shine on this case,” Flint said. “It’s baffling that the family members didn’t do anything.”

Flint said there were countless times the victim’s father, who’s also been charged with reckless child abuse in the third degree, was aware of the situation and didn’t do anything to follow up and could have checked on the victim sooner.

Ludlow asked Flint if he was attempting to “shift the blame” on Jaynes’ family members, but Flint argued that Brandy fell into an addiction of heroin and methamphetamine for at least four months before the victim was found by the father.

“This is not the story of a witch that needs to be burned at the stake. That’s the popular sentiment. This is the story of a woman who began to fail in her duties to her family, in particular to one son who needed help in a different matter, and she failed in that regard and things got worse,” Flint said. “Instead of admitting she couldn’t do it anymore and getting help, she compounded things and made them worse.”

Flint made note that neither the state nor the defense know much about what exactly was going on before the months leading up to the boy’s release from the bathroom.

During her statement, Ludlow asked Reddish-Day what the state believed her motive was. Reddish-Day said there’s no way to know, but details about the family dynamic came to light during her investigation, including how Jaynes had developed a parent-child relationship with her other two children, and that she was a “master manipulator” when it came to other members of the family.

Reddish-Day said the victim’s father, Russel Jaynes, was continually lied to and was physically and verbally barred from seeing his son for over a year.

According to Reddish-Day, the victim’s mother would make excuses for why he wouldn’t come out of his room, and since his father worked full-time, he “believed everything was fine.”

Detectives also discovered several handwritten notes addressed to the victim at the crime scene, and when Ludlow asked Jaynes about them, she said it wasn’t her handwriting. Jaynes denied further addressing the court.

“Frankly, I don’t understand the motive for why this child was treated the way he was,” Ludlow said. “The state of living and accommodations for this young man were disgusting and unsafe. No child should be subjected to live in the conditions he had to live in.”

Smith testified that as of now, the victim has improved with weight and height gain that started to increase exponentially from when he left confinement. However, he may not ever have a normal gait and even with regular physical and emotional therapy, the boy will suffer permanence due to his captivity.

“It’s extraordinary this victim survived this,” Reddish-Day said.

Flint acknowledged Jaynes’ prison sentence likely means she won’t have the chance to exercise any parent-time in seeing her three children. The victim’s father is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 19.


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