The siblings of a Texas boy who was reportedly hours from death before he was rescued revealed to a publication that they had secretly given pieces of food to the child.
In the case, the 5-year-old boy’s stepmother, Tammi Bleimeyer, was sentenced to 28 years in prison last week for injury to a child—serious bodily injury.
The child, named Jordan, weighed just 29 pounds when he was rescued by officials, which is well below the normal weight of a 5-year-old. The boy also wore a diaper and “was often given only a slice of bread to eat and that was snatched away from him if he took too long to eat it,” prosecutors were quoted by ABC News as saying (Warning: graphic photos in the article).
Cody and Allison Frank, the siblings, testified against Bleimeyer, saying Jordan would go days without food unless they snuck bread to him.
They said that they wished someone would have acted sooner to rescue the boy.
Cody, 21, and Allison, 19, said food, clothing, and a blanket was taken from him and Bleimeyer and father Brad Bleimeyer forced him to stay inside a cupboard, The Sun reported.
In 2014, then-16-year-old Cody rescued Jordan and warned relevant authorities about the situation.
“The day I opened up that closet, Jordan was in the worst shape I had ever seen him in,” he told the paper. “I had been in a huge fight with Brad so I was already in trouble and both adults were outside of the house so I just saw an opportunity and I opened up the closet to let Jordan out.”
He added: “But what I found was truly shocking; he was in his diaper, he didn’t have any clothes on. His face was all caved in, bruises all over, marks on him. His mouth was foaming. I have never in my life seen anything as bad as that.”
Cody said that if the child wasn’t rescued, he likely would have starved.
“The situation, the abuse, was bad before—there’s no doubt—but that day when I opened the door up and saw him I was in complete shock,” he added.
“I picked Jordan up and gave him to my sister Allison so she could care for him and comfort him and I went outside and just called my mom and Brad out on it,” he continued. “They both flipped out that I had opened the closet door—they said I had no business going in there, that it wasn’t anything to do with me.”
Cody said tensions escalated between him and Bradley, who was convicted after pleading guilty two years ago.
“At that point things escalated between me and Brad and we started shoving each other and I was just trying to draw as much attention as I could,” he added. “I knew at this point there was no turning back. My mom had confiscated my phone but I had a prepaid phone so I called the police but in the meantime my mom was packing all the kids up and getting everyone out.”
Allison recalled the boy was in such bad shape that he couldn’t speak.
BREAKING: Tammi Bleimeyer, 37, learned her fate Monday night for forcing her then 5-year-old, Jordan Bleimeyer, to live in a filthy closet without food. https://t.co/7UGOnU18nC
— Claire Magazine (@ClaireMagazine) December 11, 2018
“He didn’t know what was going on. That’s what was so upsetting, he didn’t even know what day it was,” she said. “I remember him falling and I picked him up and him just being in my arms was terrible.”
She told the publication: “I hadn’t seen him for about a week before this and he was scared, he didn’t know what was happening. I held him and I tried to comfort him and told him that I loved him and that everything will be okay.”
The level of malnourishment was akin to that of “a Holocaust survivor,” Assistant District Attorney Stephen Driver said last week. “He was nearly starved to death,” he said, reported the Houston Chronicle.
Cody said his stepfather moved into their home two years before that when he was 14 and brought Jordan shortly afterward. The abuse started slowly, he said.
“He was pretty aggressive with Jordan,” Cody told the paper. “It was like he was trying to make Jordan suffer. At first I just thought that’s kind of weird but then slowly after time, it started getting worse.”
He described progressive starvation and abuse over the months before the rescue.
Jordan, who is now 9, is healthy and is living with his biological mother.