Father of emaciated boy now faces child abuse charge

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TOQUERVILLE, Washington County — The father of a 12-year-old boy who weighed just 30 pounds after police say he was locked in a bathroom for a year now faces criminal charges in connection with the case.

Russell Orin Jaynes, 40, was charged Tuesday with child abuse, a third-degree felony.

The charges come a month after his estranged wife, Brandy K. Jaynes, 36, was arrested and charged. She was charged Jan. 9 in 5th District Court with intentional child abuse causing serious injury, a second-degree felony.

Details of the alleged abuse have sparked worldwide outrage. The boy was found in a feces-filled bathroom with locks on the outside of the doors, according to police. He had allegedly been locked in the bathroom for over a year.

At the time, Russell Jaynes told police he had found his emaciated son lying on a blanket, locked in the upstairs bathroom.

But Jaynes' situation with his wife and family wasn't completely clear at the time of Brandy Jaynes' arrest, according to police. The two were reportedly married but separated. Police did not initially know whether the father lived in the house or when he had last seen his son prior to taking him to the hospital.

On Tuesday, Brandy Jaynes' defense attorney Edward Flint said Russell Jaynes knew exactly what was happening.

"There was no rescue here. He knew where this child was. There’s no 'found' here. He knew where to find his child,” he said.

Flint said Russell Jaynes was living in the house the entire time and was not separated from Brandy.

He called the Jaynes' house a family in crisis, noting that they had a difficult special needs child and became overwhelmed in the care of him. He described the Jaynes family as a family that needed help but never got it.


But deputy Washington County attorney Angie Reddish-Day on Tuesday said Brandy Jaynes "is very much the primary defendant in this case."

"She is far, far and away more culpable than Russell in this whole situation according to the evidence, the victim statements, every witnesses statement. She is the one who held him the victim in captivity, did not feed him appropriately, did not provide him nourishment, kept him in the conditions he was in, and actively kept everybody else away from him — people that were inquiring about him, whether it was family members, whether it was Russell."

On Tuesday, a bail hearing was held for Brandy Jaynes who had requested that her $20,000 bail be reduced. That request was denied by a judge. Prosecutors believe Jaynes should be held without bail.

"I was shocked that the state would say this should be a no-bail case and she should go to prison without knowing anything else about her,” Flint said after Tuesday's hearing.

As for Russell Jaynes' alleged involvement, prosecutors say he was reckless for not acting sooner or seeking medical attention. After getting his son out of the bathroom, Jaynes allegedly drove around for hours, checking into a hotel and bathing his son, and then went to his father's house in Cedar City asking what he should do before taking the boy to the hospital, Reddish-Day said.

But Russell Jaynes has been cooperative during the investigation and has shown extreme remorse, according to Reddish-Day. He was allowed to visit his son in the hospital and started developing a bond with him that they hadn't had before, she said.

The boy was recently released from the hospital and placed in foster care. Reddish-Day called him a "funny" and "engaging" child who is "thriving" now that he is back in school and in a regular environment.

The boy still suffers from his years of alleged abuse, however. When he was found, the boy was unable to walk. Reddish-Day said he still has trouble with the use of his limbs. He also has not been in school since second grade and still functions on a second grade level.

Reddish-Day called the actions of Brandy Jaynes "disturbing" and "outrageous." She said Jaynes has talked recently about how she might profit from the situation because of the worldwide attention the story has received, including from national talk shows and magazines. During Tuesday's hearing, she said in court that the state was concerned about Jaynes' mental state. They do not want her profiting from the case in exchange for an interview.

"It's beyond callous," Reddish-Day said.

She also called the case "baffling" when noted that the Jaynes have two other children who are healthy.

Contributing: Mark Weaver


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