On October 19, 2003, a man called 911 at 2:30 a.m. to report a small child was digging through the trash in search of food . "He had to be under 10," the man said in the 911 call. "He's very little, a very young kid."
That child was actually 19-year-old Bruce Jackson. Bruce and his three younger brothers were nearly being starved to death by their adoptive parents, Raymond and Vanessa Jackson. At 19, Bruce weighed only 45 pounds. Fourteen-year-old TreShawn weighed 40 pounds—a typical 14-year-old weighs 115 pounds. Ten-year-old Terrell weighed 28 pounds, when he should have weighed 70 pounds. Nine-year-old Michael weighed 23 pounds instead of the 60 pounds an average child his age should weigh. At the average weight of an 18-month-old toddler, Michael wore baby clothes.
When police arrived at the home, they found a lock on the refrigerator and an alarm on the kitchen door. The Jacksons claimed their four sons were so small because they suffered from eating disorders. The boys told police they were given only raw oatmeal and pancake batter to eat. One boy told authorities he chewed on window sills and wall plaster because he was so hungry, and bite marks were discovered around the house to prove it.
When authorities removed the boys from the home, they were filthy, had rotted teeth and itched from head lice. "This is by far the most horrific case of child abuse and child neglect that we have seen over the years," county prosecutor Vincent Sarubbi said.