Officials say the teen boy they found surviving on sticks and grass in a barn could have died within a week according to doctors if not for a call from a concerned passerby who saw him outside and thought “something wasn’t right” according to Fox25 News. The Department of Human Services hotline received the call and contacted local police. The 15-year-old weighed a mere 80 pounds, suffering from severe malnutrition, and living with goats, chickens, and rabbits in a barn located on his family’s property when he was found on July 18. Authorities report that he also had had a large head wound, multiple broken bones, and shotgun pellets in one of his legs. Pottawatomie/Lincoln County First Assistant District Attorney Adam Panter credits the stranger with preventing a tragic end to the child’s life.
“We’re incredibly thankful that someone called…. They literally saved this child’s life. He could have died and been buried on that property and no one would have ever known.”
A court affidavit indicates that the boy told authorities that his head wound had become infected with maggots at one point. His father dug them out and sealed the wound with super glue and told his son that he would not be taken to a doctor because “doctors are expensive.” The teen said that the shotgun pellets in his leg were from a 12-gauge shotgun and had been there for about a year according to News OK. He had been forbidden from leaving his family’s property for about two years, the same amount of time he has been homeschooled. Adult family members had taught him how to deceive DHS or anyone else who inquired about his welfare.
One of the boy’s brothers, 24-year-old Tyler Joe Adkins, told police that he knew the barn was “unsuitable,” adding that his teenage brother was allowed in their home only to use the bathroom. His stepmother claimed to not be aware of the severity of his physical condition. She admitted that he should have been taken to a doctor for treatment but claimed not to have health insurance. Evidence to the contrary was found in the home.
The Shawnee News-Star reports that everyone else in the home was well-fed, and the teen’s father is employed full-time as a prison guard.
The boy’s grandfather, Charlie Jones, says that when he heard the news, it occurred to him that the boy may be his grandson, saying, “Something just told me in the back of my mind, it’s my grandson.” Four family members have been arrested on charges of child neglect – his father Jimmy Jones, Sr., stepmother Amy Jones, and brothers Jonathan Plank and Tyler Joe Adkins. The father also faces charges of child abuse by injury. Bail for each family member ranges from $100,000 for Adkins to $500,000 for father Jimmy Jones. A 4-year-old was removed from the home but appears to be unharmed.
The teen has been hospitalized for treatment and is said to be in fair condition. reports that he is expected to remain in the hospital for at least a month.