A Utah woman was sentenced to prison Monday for locking her then 12-year-old son in a feces-coated bathroom and starving him for more than a year.
Brandy K. Jaynes, 36, of Toquerville received three consecutive sentences of one to 15 years in prison for child abuse, according to The Spectrum.
Jaynes could serve up to 45 years in a Utah state prison. The mother pleaded guilty to causing her son’s malnutrition. The young boy also was found to suffer from a “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,” according to The Spectrum. Officials said the boy weighed 33 pounds when they discovered him.
Judge Eric Ludlow said he had never seen anything like this in his 30-year career and described Jaynes’ actions as “deplorable.”
"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."
Deputy County Attorney Angie Reddish-Day read a letter from Jaynes’ son in court. The young boy explained the conditions he lived in while he was locked away in Jaynes’ home.
"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 statement said. "I felt frozen when I was drenched with ice cold water in the winter."
Ludlow said he found the victim’s letter “particularly heart-wrenching” especially when the young boy said he would like to talk and see his mother again at some point.
"She did horrible things to me, but she's still my mom," the statement said. "I feel safe now. I started feeling safe when I got away from her."
The young victim was discovered bolted in a bathroom that was coated in feces, the court statement read. The victim was found locked in a space that was “set up for confinement specifically,” according to Reddish-Day.
The evidence and the boy’s testimony suggests he was kept in isolation for years. Jaynes also monitored the inside of the bathroom by using a surveillance camera.
“It’s just sickening – there’s no other word for it,” Reddish-Day said.
The victim, who is now 13-years-old, had elevated liver enzymes, peeling skin, low vitamin levels and sores when he was initially hospitalized, according to Kerri Smith, the doctor who treated the boy. He could barely walk.
“He was in a lot of pain,” Smith stated.
Defense attorney Edward Flint said Jaynes did not abuse the victim intentionally but did it as “a way to deal with the stress in her life,” and that the mother was using drugs before the boy was discovered by his father, Russell Jaynes.
"It's impossible to put a shine on this case," Flint said. "It's baffling that the family members didn't do anything."
"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."
Reddish-Day said she was not sure what Jaynes’ motive was but said Jaynes had a relationship with her two other children and was “a master manipulator” with her other family members.
"Frankly, I don't understand the motive for why this child was treated the way he was," Ludlow stated. "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 said the victim was in better health and had gained weight as well as grown taller but he may never have “a normal gait.”
"It's extraordinary this victim survived this," Reddish-Day said.
Russell Jaynes was slated to appear in court on Sept. 19 after being charged with third-degree felony reckless child abuse. He was accused of not getting involved with his son’s abuse but Reddish-Day said the father was lied to and banned from visiting his son for more than a year.
The other children are in the custody of the state.