Four people are facing child neglect charges after a starving 15-year-old boy was found living in a barn with animals in Oklahoma.
Court documents say the boy’s family lived a seemingly normal life inside the Meeker home.
“At first glance, he looked like a scrawny little 8-year-old running around barefoot,” neighbor Zach Guy said.
Guy said he had no idea the boy was actually a starving 15-year-old. Investigators said the boy weighed only 80 pounds.
“It’s hard to comprehend,” Pottawatomie County First Assistant District Attorney Adam Panter said.
Panter told The Shawnee News-Star that the case was investigated by DHS and the District Attorney’s Task Force after a concerned passerby reported something wasn’t right.
“Thankfully, some concerned people driving by saw him and called DHS,” Panter said.
Prosecutors in Pottawatomie County arrested parents Jimmy Jones Sr., 34, and Amy Jones, 46, and adult brothers Jonathan Luke Plank, 20, and Tyler Joe Adkins, 24, after someone driving by noticed the teen and called police.
Officials said the boy was eating twigs and leaves to stay alive. He will reportedly need to undergo surgery to remove those items from his body. He is expected to be hospitalized for at least a month.
A search warrant from the home found the house was full of food. The animals were also well-fed.
The victim also had broken bones that had never been treated and shotgun pellets in his body.
“He indicated that his father had shot him a year prior with a shotgun,” Panter said. Court documents say the teen was pulled out of school two years ago. Formal charges against the suspects are pending.
Authorities also removed from the home a 4-year-old who did not appear to have been abused.
Doctors said the victim may not have lived to see another week without intervention.