The parents of a 6-year-old Post Falls boy who was sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries have been arrested for child abuse.
Court documents released this week lay out horrific child abuse charges against 30-year-old Joy T. Anderson (the boy's stepmother) and 47-year-old Melvin W. Bledsoe after their son was sent to Sacred Heart for surgery.
The boy went to the hospital with a split pancreas, according to court documents and a health and welfare worker suspected the boy had been abused. Detectives say the parents delayed seeking medical attention for the boy, resulting in a lot of pain and fluids seeping into the body cavity.
Court documents show the boy had scars and scabs all over his body, and several wounds appeared to be fresh. Dried blood was reported on the boy's penis, ulcers on his legs, a cut on his eyebrow and a cauliflower ear. A nurse practitioner noted that if it was determined the ear was deformed due to injury, it would be the worst she had ever seen.
Speaking with detectives, Bledsoe said the boy's injuries likely came from playing with other kids at the Falls Park area.
Detectives showed Bledsoe photos of the boy's wounds and asked him to explain several injuries.
When asked to explain a "larger injury" to the boy's hip/thigh area possibly from the acid inside feces, Bledsoe said the injury was not there the night prior to the boy going to the hospital.
When asked about the injuries to the boy's penis, Bledsoe said it was from the boy "self picking at himself."
Injuries to the boy's back were from "sliding down rocks in the park," according to Bledsoe.
Several other injuries Bledsoe explained by saying they were from either "falling down" or that he "had no idea."
The doctor treating the boy at Sacred Heart told detectives the boy's pancreas suffered a "total transection," meaning it was split in half. The doctor said it would take "great force" to cause such an injury.
The boy said his mother would stomp on his tummy, including the one time before coming to the hospital. The boy said his dad "protects him" and he "feels safe with him," but he "didn't feel safe" with his mother.
The boy told detectives he couldn't remember what had happened to him, according to court documents. One detective noted that when he asked the boy about what happened, he would stiffen up and his whole body would "shake/tremble as in fear," and the boy would say, "Nothing happened. Nothing happened at home," in an "almost rehearsed voice."
The boy said he and his sister were punished when they got in trouble. He said his sister has to stand in a corner and he gets spankings. The boy said he is the only one to get spankings and "he gets in trouble a lot." The boy said his dad used his belt to spank him and his mom used coat hangers.
A nurse practitioner told detectives it was her professional opinion that the boy was the victim of "serious and severe physical abuse," noting that the split pancreas could have been lethal and the boy was malnourished. The N.P. noted she heard a report of the boy spitting up or defecating "fluff," possibly from eating parts of a pillow because he was hungry.
Neighbors told detectives they would visit the couple and the boy would often be lying face down and tied to a bed with ropes around his wrists. One neighbor told detectives the boy was "treated like crap" and they could sometimes hear the boy crying and screaming, making "the most eerie scream you could hear." If the boy screamed, the neighbor said Bledsoe would go into the room, scream at him, spank him and hit him, telling him "you need to stop."
The same neighbor said he witnessed Bledsoe picking up the boy and throwing him, sometimes into a wall.
Bledsoe has prior convictions for felony injury to a child, burglary, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, assault, and forgery.
Based on their investigation, detectives arrested Anderson and charged her with felony injury to a child. Bledsoe was arrested and charged with cruelty to children.
A neighbor, who wants to remain anonymous, tells KHQ some of the abuse happened back in 2015 at the Willow Creek Mobile Home Park in Rathdrum.
The neighbor claims police and CPS was called during that time but did not see enough evidence of abuse to step-in.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says they can’t comment on particular cases, but they did provide links of where people can go to report child abuse: https://dhwblog.com/2017/04/12/please-help-idahos-children-by-reporting-suspected-abuse-or-neglect-its-the-law/
Statewide reports can be made here: 1-855-552-KIDS