Emaciated boy, 5, foaming at the mouth and ‘just hours from death’ when siblings rescued him from ‘Harry Potter’ cupboard after stepmum locked him in
CAGED LIKE A DOG
Step-siblings Cody and Allison Frank told Sun Online their battered and bruised stepbrother, Jordan, spent months starving in the cubbyhole prosecutors called the ‘Harry Potter’ cupboard – often wearing nothing but a nappy
- 17 Dec 2018, 11:54
- Updated: 18 Dec 2018, 3:24
THE heroic siblings of a little boy who was beaten, starved and locked in a tiny cupboard for months on end have revealed how they managed to rescue him when he was hours away from death.
Cody and Allison Frank, who bravely testified against their mother Tammi Bleimeyer, in a harrowing abuse trial, told how their five-year-old stepbrother, Jordan would go days without food – unless they managed to sneak a piece of bread to him.
And they say how they wished someone would have acted sooner – after they reached out to police officers, teachers and friends multiple times about the chilling abuse of their little brother.
Evil dad Brad Bleimeyer, 29, would beat, starve and even Taser little Jordan “for no reason at all” and kept him locked in a cold dark cubbyhole within a cupboard under the stairs – which wasn’t even big enough for the youngster to stand up in.
Cody, 21, and Allison, 19, revealed how Jordan slowly had everything stripped away from him – including food, clothes and even his pillow and blanket – so he would be left wearing nothing but a diaper in the tiny space surrounded by nails and exposed wires.
The siblings said he would just “disappear” for days on end – to the extent they would think he was out of the house – when in fact he would be locked away in his tiny prison – which prosecutors called the “Harry Potter” cupboard – at their home in Spring, Texas.
Jordan, now aged nine, was finally rescued from his hellish ordeal in March 2014, when Cody, then aged 16, managed to get him out of the cupboard and raise the alarm.
In an exclusive interview, Cody, told Sun Online: “The day I opened up that closet, Jordan was in the worst shape I had ever seen him in.
“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.
“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.
“I kind of paused for a second and then I just freaked out.
“If we hadn’t got him out that day I don’t think he would have survived.
“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 looked like he was close to death.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Tammi, 37, who was jailed for 28 years after being found guilty of injury to a child by omission, managed to escape to a hotel with Jordan and her younger children, while Brad fled the scene.
Police arrested them both later that day and Jordan and his seven step-brothers and sisters were placed in emergency foster care.
Jordan now lives with his biological mother where he has made a miracle recovery and is now “a healthy, happy little boy.”
But Allison recalls how little Jordan was in such bad shape when he came out of the closet he could barely speak.
“He didn’t even say anything – he was out of it,” style consultant Allison said.
“He didn’t know what was going on. That’s what was so upsetting he didn’t even know what day it was.
“I remember him falling and I picked him up and him just being in my arms was terrible.
“It was like I wasn’t holding anything – he was so light – it wasn’t like holding a kid at all.
“He was so, so white and his cheeks were sunken and he smelled terrible – it was just awful.
“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.”
Cody, who is the eldest of seven kids, told how his stepfather Brad moved into their home when he was around 14 and brought Jordan shortly afterwards.
He said the abuse started slowly – when he noticed how Brad would treat Jordan differently to the other kids.
“He was pretty aggressive with Jordan,” Cody, a criminal justice student, recalled.
“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 would hit him around the back of the head, he’d take his belt off and hit him with it. He would throw him around and throw him on the ground.
“I think abuse is one of those things that creeps up on you. At first it was hitting him on the back of the head and then it was the belt, then it was the denying food, and then putting him in the closet.
“With the food it started with taking one dinner off him and then it turned into dinner and the lunch and then eventually it turned into not eating at all.”
As the abuse got worse and worse, Cody even heard Brad use his Taser gun on the little boy – and saw the marks on his body.
Tammi and Brad began to put Jordan in to “time outs” in the cupboard under the stairs.
Cody recalled that one day he heard Jordan’s crying and went to investigate and discovered to his horror that the youngster was being kept in a little “cubbyhole” inside the cupboard.
“There were clothes kind of covering up the closet door and when I opened it up I saw he wasn’t there – but I could hear his cries,” he said.
“That’s when I discovered he was actually in a little cubbyhole – like a closet within a closet.
“It was pretty small I don’t think he could have stood up all the way – he had to sit down or lie down.
“It was a dark space and there was insulation coming through the sides.
“It was under the staircase so you can see the indentions of the stairs.
“There was nails going out of the ground, pieces of wood, it was a tile floor so pretty cold, wires coming out.
“It was not somewhere that anyone should be.
“Jordan would get put in there for no reason – I never saw him doing anything abnormal. He wasn’t a challenging kid, he was just a regular kid.”
Allison recalls how Tammi and Brad even ended up putting a lock on the tiny cupboard after the starving little boy escaped one night and took some food from the kitchen.
At first Jordan would be forced to eat his meals as fast as possible – before they were taken away completely and the little boy survived on the odd piece of bread his siblings managed to sneak to him.
For the last six months of his life in the house, he was kept in the cupboard most of the time, with Allison saying it was like he would “just disappear”.
Heartbreakingly, while Cody and Allison used to hear him sob and ask for help, towards the end, the abused boy didn’t even have the energy to cry.
“When they first started using food as a punishment they would allow him a dinner but if it took him too long then they would take it away from him. So basically he was forced stuff it down,” Allison said.
“When they first started putting him in the cupboard they left it unlocked and he would sneak out when they were sleeping and go to the pantry to get food.
“Now he was only three or four and he’s clumsy so stuff would fall and he’d make a mess.
“My mom would get so mad and she would punish him by putting him back in the closet but they put a lock on it.
“After a while I don’t think he was getting any food at all unless I managed to open the closet and hand him some bread on the rare times my mom and Brad were out.”
As well as the physical abuse, Allison revealed how cruel Bradley would verbally terrorize his son too.
“He would tell him to shut up a lot – just anything that he would say or do he’d go ‘Jordan, shut the f**k up – when he was just three or four years old,” she said.
“He would call him ‘stupid’ and a ‘crybaby’ – he said all sorts of things to just make him feel worthless.
“It didn’t matter, whatever he did, he just completely shut him down.
“I remember there were several times where he was just singing in the car to himself and Brad would tell him to shut up, that he wasn’t a good singer and that nobody wanted to hear that.
“It was a lot for a little kid to take.
“I would try to stick up for him whenever I could, I turned around and started rubbing his arm and telling him I loved him and that he could sing if he wanted to, that he was a good singer and that I loved hearing him sing. That would make him happy.
“I tried to do what I could but there was only so much I could do – I was a kid too.
Both Allison and Cody challenged their parents several times about their treatment of Jordan.
Brad would threaten or beat Cody and one of his other siblings, while Tammi would emotionally blackmail Allison and tell her that if she told authorities about Jordan, all her siblings would be split up into different foster care and she’d never see them again.
Despite the threats against them, Cody and Allison told friends, police officers and school counsellors about the abuse – but no one could help them.
“The police had been to our house multiple times,” Cody said. “All the police officers told me there was nothing they could do about it.
“The teachers were unsure what to do – nobody could help me at that point.
“I remember police officers were actually at our front door and I asked them to come in and see what was happening and they said they couldn’t because I was underage and I didn’t own the house.
“They were literally at our door and I was asking for help and they couldn’t do anything. https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.405.0_en.html#goog_1687143582Play Video Mum kept stepson, 5, in ‘Harry Potter room’ under stairs, starved him and made him wear a nappy
“At that point I just felt kind of helpless – you know the cops are who you’re supposed to go to for help and they couldn’t do anything.
“I wish that someone would have got involved sooner – before it became so bad.”
Allison said she would listen to Jordan’s sobs at night and feel “completely hopeless” that no one could help.
The brother and sister told how it was emotionally difficult to testify in court against their mother – but they knew it was “the right thing to do”.
They said they were shocked when the judge Tammi handed a 28-year-sentence but they hope their mother will learn from her mistakes.
And despite everything, they hope to one day have a relationship with Tammi, who they have not spoken to since 2014.
“I’m really hoping that one day I can have a good relationship with my mom,” Allison said.
“I just hope she can really realize some of her faults in all of this and one day we can all make amends.
“No one wants to see their mom in this situation.
Ce petit garçon a été découvert mort de faim, vivant « comme un chien » et proche de la mort
Par : Rose APublié le : 13 novembre 2019 à 15 h 35 min Article corrigé le : 7 juillet 2020
La maltraitance des enfants peut se traduire par une grande négligence sous différentes formes et parfois, elle peut aboutir à la violence, qu’elle soit physique, émotionnelle ou encore sexuelle. Cet acte abominable peut entraîner des conséquences graves impactant particulièrement la santé des enfants, leur développement, leur survie et leur dignité. Mais la pire des cruautés est lorsqu’elle provient de leur environnement, comme l’école, les amis ou encore de leur famille proche. L’histoire tragique d’un petit garçon nommé Jordan, relayée par nos confrères du tabloïde The Sun, nous montre jusqu’où la cruauté d’une personne peut aller, cette perversion qui ne semble appartenir qu’au genre humain.
Souvent, on attribue la cruauté à l’espèce animale mais la plupart des animaux arrêtent naturellement toute sorte de violence une fois que le dominé manifeste un premier signe de soumission. Contrairement à l’être humain, qui lorsqu’il perd ses principes moraux, s’acharne d’une manière jubilatoire sur un autre individu malgré les suppliques de ce dernier. Jordan un garçon originaire du Texas a subi les affres de la violence infligée par ses propres parents, une histoire tragique qui brise le cœur.
Un petit garçon, victime de la cruauté humaine
Jordan vivait avec son père Brad et sa belle-mère Tammi ainsi que ses demi-frères et sœurs. Seulement, il était le seul à être maltraité contrairement à sa fratrie. Il était constamment battu, affamé et enfermé dans une petite pièce sous les escaliers, qui s’apparentait à un placard et dans lequel, il pouvait à peine se mettre debout.
Il était privé de tout confort, même minime. Sans nourriture, ni vêtement ou couverture pour se réchauffer et avec une couche, pour simple apparat ; il était proche de l’agonie. Le jeune garçon subissait cette maltraitance dans sa minuscule prison, sans raison valable, juste par méchanceté et sadisme de la part de son père et sa belle-mère.
Sauvé par son demi-frère
Ses demi-frères et sœurs, pensaient toujours que Jordan s’absentait souvent, selon les dires de leurs parents, mais Cody le plus âgé des frères, savait que Jordan subissait une grande cruauté sans être en mesure de réaliser son réel degré. Puis un jour, il décida avec l’aide de sa sœur Allison, d’ouvrir le placard où était enfermé son jeune frère et découvrit un petit garçon cadavérique avec la peau sur les os et des cicatrices balafrant son visage, sans parler des ecchymoses et des marques sur sa peau. Il était au bord de l’agonie. Son frère a tout de suite prévenu la police et les secours et a sorti Jordan de ce trou, que les procureurs ont d’ailleurs prénommé le placard « Harry Potter ». Le petit avait l’air d’un survivant de l’Holocauste.
Suite à cette terrible découverte et au témoignage de Cody et Allison, le père et la belle-mère ont écopé tous deux d’une peine d’emprisonnement conséquente, tandis que les autres enfants ont été placés dans une famille d’accueil.
Si Jordan n’avait pas été sauvé par son frère, il n’aurait probablement pas survécu à la terrible souffrance qu’il subissait pendant des mois. Parce que l’abus doit toujours être dénoncé, il faut toujours en parler.
Agir et dénoncer
En France, près d’une personne sur quatre affirme avoir subi des maltraitances durant son enfance. Ainsi selon un sondage réalisé par l’association L’Enfant Bleu, 14% des personnes interrogées expliquent qu’ils ont vécu des situations comparables à de la maltraitance.
Souvent voilée au sein des foyers et cantonnée au rang des faits divers, la violence infligée aux enfants n’est pas réellement prise en compte comme il se doit. Une mobilisation des familles et des professionnels est indispensable afin de mener à bien le combat contre cette violence de plus en plus omniprésente. Pour ce faire, le Gouvernement a élaboré un plan 2017-2019 interministériel de mobilisation pour lutter contre la violence infantile.
En effet, ce plan vise à responsabiliser et à mobiliser tous les citoyens dans le cadre de la prévention et le repérage des violences, en englobant 4 axes. Ces derniers dirigent l’attention vers la connaissance des mécanismes de violence, de la sensibilisation, du bon repérage ainsi que de l’accompagnement des victimes de violence, sous l’emblème « Enfants en danger : dans le doute agissez !»