In 2015, one off-duty Oklahoma police officer overheard a call about a child that had been severely abused. As he listened to details of the situation, he knew he had to go to the scene and see if he could help.
“I thought I would respond to the call with on-duty officers to see if I could give any kind of assistance,” said Poteau Police Officer Jody Thompson. When the officers entered the home, they discovered an eight-year-old boy with tied up wrists in a 55-gallon drum that was filled up to his chin with ice water.
“Based on some of the case facts, when we found him he was bound by his hands and feet with rope and had been submerged in a trash can, held in the shower,” Poteau Police Chief Stephen Fruen explained said. “They weren’t feeding him. He didn’t have much to eat. I think what he did get to eat he got at school. Bruises, he was covered in bruises from head to toe.”
“He did not have a spot on him that didn’t have a bruise or abrasion,” Thompson said about the boy named John. “I’ve never seen nothing like this.” Thompson wrapped John, who weighed just 61 pounds, up in a blanket and brought him to the hospital after stopping at the child advocacy center so they could take pictures as proof of the abuse. “I sat with him,” Thompson said. “I knew I couldn’t let him out of my sight.”
“He means everything in the world that we live in. He’s the strongest person I’ve ever met. He means the world,” said Thompson, who also adopted John’s biological newborn sister after finding out that his mother gave birth to a baby in prison. “We picked her up at the hospital. She was barely 24 hours old and we brought her home.”
“All of us can sit back and say we would do the same in that situation, but to come through with it and to do that, that’s a measure of a man – and a very good police officer,” Fruen said.
Watch the entire video below to see how far this little boy has come since being adopted by one of his rescuers.
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[Featured image: Poteau, Okla. Police Department]