43-year-old Lisa Marie Waldron pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter in the death of her 17-year-old son Jordan Brooks.
Brooks suffered from cerebral palsy and was entirely dependent on his mother and stepfather, Anthony Waldron, for care. However, prosecutors say the couple starved, neglected, and abused the helpless teen.
At one point, Brooks weighed only 55 pounds, having lost over half his body weight in just 8 months under their “care.” By the time he died in May 2021, Brooks was covered in bedsores and had metal implants protruding from his skin.
He would be left in soiled diapers for days and was once forced to sit in his wheelchair for 11 days straight without being put to bed. Brooks had even reported to doctors that he was neglected and forced to stay in his wheelchair nonstop.
Yet his mother did nothing to get him medical treatment or improve his condition. Instead, she spent the social security checks meant for his care on herself, shopping at places like Victoria’s Secret and taking vacations.
Even after Brooks died, Waldron continued to collect his social security checks, stealing money meant to aid her deceased son. At her sentencing hearing, the prosecutor condemned Waldron for showing no real remorse over her son’s death.
The defense tried to claim Waldron was overwhelmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the judge was unswayed. In addition to her 20-year prison sentence, Waldron received 5 years of post-release supervision.
Her husband Anthony Waldron still faces trial next month on a second-degree murder charge for his role in Jordan’s death. His lawyer insists he will not accept any plea deal. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
Jordan Brooks was entirely at the mercy of his caregivers. Yet the two people entrusted with his well-being denied him basic care and dignity, ultimately taking his life through prolonged, fatal neglect.
Advocates for the disabled say more must be done to monitor the welfare of disabled children who may be isolated from the public eye. Stronger oversight and intervention could save lives.
Jordan likely interacted with doctors, nurses, and social workers over the years. But somehow the system still failed to detect just how dire his living conditions had become.
The sentencing judge called Brooks’ death an “unfathomable loss of human life” and said he suffered unfathomably in his final months and years.
Prosecutors say his mother treated him like a burden rather than a child, leaving him to die trapped in his wheelchair as she stole his aid money.
Hopefully, this case will prompt reforms that better protect society’s most vulnerable. Though the 20-year sentence sends a strong message, it comes too late for Jordan Brooks.
The system failed him in life but delivered some justice in death. Advocates say his story should fuel efforts to prevent such tragedies from recurring. No child deserves to suffer the agony Brooks endured before his lonely, premature end.
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