LAYTON, Utah — The father of a 2-year-old child who was severely beaten over a potty-training incident, says this could have all been avoided.
Police say the boy’s own mother, Jasmine Bridgeman, 23, and her boyfriend, Joshua Schoenenberger, 34, are to blame for what happened. Investigators believe the beatings have been going on for some time.
“Monday, May 11th has been the worst and most difficult day of my life,” said a very emotional James Sieger, to 2News. Sieger calls his boy JJ and says he can’t believe that he’s gone.
“He was the best kid. He was funny. He was very smart.”
JJ was taken off life support early Monday morning as a result of being beaten, kicked, punched and dropped according to Layton Police.
“It’s just horrible,” said Lt. Travis Lyman with Layton Police Department.
Lyman says the beatings happened at a home in Layton where the couple was living. He says the latest incident happened on Friday during a potty-training incident.
According to jail documents, JJ pooped his diaper and the couple became furious, even taking the diaper off and smearing it in his face.
Documents say Schoenenberger continued to beat JJ while Bridgeman went outside and smoked a cigarette.
“The biological mother did allow significant amount of abuse to go on without intervening, but also engaged in it herself,” said Lyman.
Police say the couple brought JJ to the Davis County hospital and reported he had almost drowned in the bathtub. Police say it was clear that’s not what happened. He had internal bleeding, bruising to his legs, groin, arms and head.
“There are no words. There are no words what this baby went through and the pain he suffered,” said his Aunt Nicole Sieger.
His grandmother says she saw JJ at the store with his mom last month with a big bruise on his face.
“He had a bruise on his cheek a pretty big one,” said Krista Sieger.
Krista says she called Layton police to report it and the father says he called the Department of Child and Family Services, but nothing ever came of it.
“We could have stopped this whole thing,” said Krista.
“Very upset we have been trying for a long time to get those kids out of that situation,” said James.
Lyman says according to their records they did get a call from the grandmother on April 16, but he says they tried to get back to her and make contact but were unable to do so. He says the issue was brought up to the Department of Child and Family Services but the mother’s whereabouts could not be found. No one knew where she was.
A spokesperson for the DCFS tells 2News that they are not able to talk about individual cases because of confidentiality reasons.
James Sieger says he was living with Bridgeman in Georgia four months ago and she suddenly just vanished with JJ and their 5-month-old child. He did not know where she was at until his mother spotted them in the store in Utah.
Schoenenberger and Bridgeman are both at the Davis County Jail and are expected to be charged with homicide.