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A Toquerville mother has been charged with child abuse after her 12-year-old son was allegedly found malnourished weighing just 30 pounds and locked in a bathroom in their home.
On Monday, Brandy K. Jaynes, 36, was charged in 5th District Court with second-degree-felony child abuse.
According to court documents, the boy's father found him locked in a bathroom with sheets draped in front of it. The father allegedly pulled down the sheets and saw two latches that were locked from the outside. Inside, documents say, he found his son lying on the floor with a blanket.
The father told police he took his child from the home and brought him to Dixie Regional Medical Center, where police responded Sunday. Officers wrote that they saw "a small-framed child that appeared to be very skinny" in his hospital room, documents state.
A doctor told police that this was "the worst case of malnutrition he has seen," and that the child would be hospitalized for at least three weeks to get him healthy enough to leave. The boy could not stand up on his own, Washington County sheriff's Lt. David Crouse told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 pounds is about the average weight of a 2-year-old.
Detectives searched Jaynes' home and found the bathroom the father described; Jaynes confirmed that it was the room where the boy had stayed.
The bathroom floor was covered with "what appeared to be feces," the documents quote police as saying, and the "toilet bowl was full of feces to the point that you could not see any water."
There was also a blanket on the bathroom floor, as described by the victim's father, documents say, and the shower contained a few empty cans of beans and a spoon.
The boy likely was kept in the dark, Crouse said. Investigators found 3 square feet of duct tape mounted on the light switch so it could not be turned on.
The shower's drain was covered with duct tape, police wrote in court documents, and on a shower ledge raised a few inches off the ground, they found a video camera and baby monitor taped to it.
Jaynes told police that "her son wanted to sleep in this bathroom," documents say, and that she would occasionally lock her son in the bathroom "for his safety when she would leave the house."
She added that she was attempting to feed the boy protein drinks to "get his weight up," documents say.
The boy's two siblings told investigators that their brother had been in the bathroom for at least one year. They hadn't even spoken to their brother through the door in six months, Crouse said. He declined to give their ages but said one was old enough to understand the situation.
"It is one of the most horrible things I've ever had to see," Crouse said. "I wish I could unsee it."
The woman's two other children are in custody of state child protective services. Investigators are talking with those children to determine whether they had been abused, Crouse said.
Jaynes was arrested and is being held on $20,000 bail. A court scheduling hearing was set for Tuesday in St. George.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.