MEEKER, Okla. – A teen starved and living in a barn – police and DHS discovered the 15-year-old boy severely malnourished with broken bones and other signs of abuse.
The boy’s father, Jimmy Jones, was arrested on child abuse and neglect charges. Jones’s wife and stepsons were also arrested for child neglect.
“From the outside, you would never suspect something was going on,” said Adam Panter, Lincoln County assistant district attorney.
The victim is recovering from his extensive injuries at O.U. Children’s Hospital.
Those who live in the small town find the allegations hard to believe.
“They seemed like normal people, nice,” said Zach Guy.
Investigators said the Jones family is far from nice.
Doctors told investigators they’re surprised the boy survived.
“A passerby saw a 15-year-old victim out in a field, and became concerned due to his appearance of his condition and called DHS,” Panter said.
The teen weighed only 80 pounds, and he didn’t even look 15.
“About a month ago, we were just working on the fence and a little boy came up. We thought he was an 8-year-old, really scrawny, real short, you know, barefoot,” Guy said.
Guy remembers seeing the victim again – this time, with injuries.
“Little while later, we saw him come up, bruise on his head. We thought maybe he got into an accident in the barn,” Guy said.
Investigators said the teen told them the head wound was from his dad. And, he never received medical attention.
“At one point, his father had pulled maggots out of him and superglue it shut, telling him that doctor’s were too expensive to take him to,” Panter said.
Panter said the teen told police more.
“He been shot by his dad with a shotgun with birdshot, and x-rays revealed he did have shotgun pellets still lodged in his leg,” Panter said.
Panter said the parents, step brothers and a 4-year-old girl lived in the home and appeared healthy and fed. He went on to say the animals were also well taken care of.
“He had to forage for his own food; he wasn’t allowed food from inside the house,” Panter said.
The victim was forced to eat twigs and grass and sleep on an old, ratty couch. He had one book in the barn as his only means of entertainment.
“The doctors at O.U. Children’s Hospital, after treating him and testing him and evaluating him, determined that, have he not been found, he would have been dead of starvation within a week,” Panter said.
The teen was pulled out of school two years ago; investigators believe that’s when the abuse started.