When Officer Jody Thompson, of the Poteau Police Department in Oklahoma, responded to a call two years ago, he never knew it would change his life forever.
The call came in 2015 as Thompson was pulling in the parking lot at the police station. It was a child abuse call, and because he had previous experience as a detective investigating abuse cases, he decided to check it out, even though he was off duty.
Although Thompson was experienced in investigating child abuse cases, nothing could prepare him for what he was about to discover. Inside the house was a severely malnourished and underweight child, weighing only 61 pounds. The little boy was submerged in a trash can full of freezing water with his wrists bound together with belts. According to 5 News, his entire body was covered in bruises, and he had a knot on the side of his head.
“Based on some of the case facts, when we found him he was bound by his hands and feet with rope and had been submerged in a trash can, held in the shower,” Poteau Police Chief Stephen Fruen said. “They weren’t feeding him. He didn’t have much to eat. I think what he did get to eat he got at school. Bruises, he was covered in bruises from head to toe.”
“He did not have a spot on his body that didn’t have a bruise or abrasion,” Thompson said. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Jody helped remove the child, whose name is John, from the trash can and covered him up. He then drove him to an Oklahoma Children’s Advocacy Center where detectives took photos of the severe abuse. Jody then drove John to the emergency room. John was admitted to the hospital and placed in the ICU. Jody refused to leave John’s side and knew that the only way John would be safe was if he was with him. Jody immediately contacted the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to become a certified foster parent, and a few days later, he brought John home to his family. At the time, Jody and his wife already had an 8-year-old and 15-year-old son, and his wife was pregnant with their third child. However, the family welcomed John with open arms.
“Everyone knew… they trusted I was doing the right thing before they even knew what happened and heard the story,” Thompson said.
Jody and his wife formally adopted John in August 2015, after both of his parents, who were incarcerated, gave up their parental rights. Since then, John has flourished in his new home with his new family. Not only does John get straight A’s in school, he is also part of the school’s gifted and talented program.
“John is amazing. He’s a straight-A student, on the honor roll, in the gifted and talented program, involved in the local drama club,” Thompson said. “That kid’s very resilient. He bounced back from this.”
After taking in John, the Thompson’s thought their family was complete. Little did they know, they would be welcoming a little girl into their home as well. The couple received a call telling them that John’s biological mom gave birth to a baby girl in jail, and they wanted to know if they wanted to foster her.
“We literally picked her up in the hospital the next day when she was a day old and brought her straight home,” Thompson said. “Never in my life did I dream of having a large family, but God had different plans and so here we are. And I’m loving it all.”
[Featured Image by DynamoClock/Shutterstock]