ROMAN FOREST, Texas – Roman Forest police are investigating a case where they say a 17-year-old teen with a rare disability was mistreated by his parents. Investigators said the boy nearly starved to death.
“He was barely skin and bones,” said investigator Rachel Rippe, with the Roman Forest Police Department.
Roman Forest police said when they found the boy, he was emaciated.
“You have a 17-year-old child. He was 62 pounds,” Rippe said.
Rippe took the case in August after Roman Forest police were notified by Child Protective Services that the child was not being cared for properly.
“He also had bed sores all over his body. There were quite a few on his knees, on all prominent bones of his body,” Rippe said.
Rippe was tasked with looking into what led the boy to come to this condition. On Aug. 19, police said the teen’s father, 38-year-old Jason Joyner and the teen’s stepmother, 35-year-old Jaime Joyner, brought the teen to Texas Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands.
Police were told that the teen had a rare condition that affected his motor skills, keeping the teen in a bed or wheelchair, disabled and dependent on feeding tubes. Rippe said the boy depended on others for all of his care. Police said that doctors had indicated that something was not right.
“His feeding was inconsistent. That he was not being given the correct caloric intake for a child of his age,” Rippe said.
When looking into what happened, Rippe, who joined the Roman Forest Police Department in January, found that the parents had moved from Georgia, where they had lived for a couple of months. Prior to that, they had moved from Arizona, where they had lived for years.
At one point, Rippe said that CPS had required the father to give the child to the child’s biological mother. Rippe said that the child was eventually returned to the father and stepmother. The parents told police that they could not afford medical care or formula because they had trouble getting insurance.
Rippe said they indicated to her that they had moved to Texas in hopes of changing that. However, Rippe said she had seen no evidence that the child was being taken care of properly. At their home in Roman Forest on the 2700 block of Michaelangelo Street, Rippe found that the child was being bound by restraints.
“His ankle was I guess tied… The other point would be tied around the bed. His legs would be pulled straight out and he would be left like that for [several hours],” Rippe said.
Jason Joyner and Jaime Joyner have since been arrested and charged with injury to a disabled person, a first-degree felony.
As for the teen, within three weeks of being hospitalized, investigators said he has gained 27 pounds, bringing him up to 89 pounds from 62. Rippe, who visits the teen from time to time, said that he had complications with refeeding syndrome but is doing better than before.
“I’m glad to see that he’s doing better,” Rippe said.
A $100,000 bond was set for each of the parents.