A married couple from upstate New York have been arrested in the death of their 17-year-old son with cerebral palsy, whom investigators said had been neglected, starved and left covered in bedsores.
Lisa Waldron, 43, and Anthony Waldron, 37, from Palermo were taken into custody on Wednesday, charged with criminally negligent homicide, second-degree manslaughter and first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person stemming from the May 2021 death of Jordan Brooks, who weighed just 55 pounds.
The couple were arraigned in Oswego County Court just hours after their arrest and pleaded not guilty to the charges. A judge set Lisa’s bail at $10,000 and Anthony’s at $20,000, because he has a prior conviction and was deemed a flight risk.
Lisa Waldron, 43 (left), and Anthony Waldron, 37 (right), have been charged with criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a disabled person for the May 2021 death of their son, 17-year-old Jordan Brooks
Brooks, who was born with cerebral palsy, died by homicide caused by malnutrition and an infection
According to the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, on May 9, 2021, deputies responded to the Waldron family’s home for a report of an unresponsive special-needs child.
Brooks, 17, was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The following day, his mother penned a gushing tribute to her son on Facebook.
‘My god I miss you,’ she wrote. ‘You were more than my son and I was more than your mother. We were best friends.
‘Nobody could make me laugh like you did. The pain I feel is like none other. …Your empathy will be missed. Your laugh will be missed. Your sarcasm will be missed. Jordan you will be missed. I love you my little buddy.’
An autopsy later determined that the teen was severely underweight, tipping the scales at only 55lbs at the time of his death, which is the average weight of a healthy eight-year-old boy. Brooks also had bedsores covering ‘a significant portion of his body.’
The sheriff’s office launched a months-long investigation into the teen’s death, which included interviews with his parents, teachers, doctors and occupational therapists, as well as an extensive review of medical and school records.
Deputies responded to the Waldrons’ family home in Palermo, New York, on May 9, 2021, and found Brooks unresponsive. He later died in a hospital
A day after her son’s death, Lisa Waldron wrote this gushing tribute to her ‘little buddy’
For Christmas, the mom had this ornament made, featuring her son’s photo
Brooks weighed just 55lbs at the time of his death and was covered in bedsores
In February 2022, the medical examiner’s office released its final report, which determined the manner of Brooks’ death to be homicide ‘caused in part by infection and malnutrition.’
During the Waldrons’ arraignment, a prosecutor successfully petitioned the judge to issue a protective order for Lisa’s 14-year-old daughter, who is currently staying with her maternal grandmother, arguing that he did not want the parents to potentially temper with the girl’s future testimony about her brother’s care, reported Syracuse.com.
It was revealed in court that both the husband and wife are unemployed and Anthony collects disability payments.
Anthony Waldron has a criminal record, which includes a conviction for attempted second-degree burglary. He served two years in state prison and was paroled in 2004.
Oswego County Sheriff Don Hilton said that multiple complaints were made about Brooks’ treatment at home to a child abuse hotline from the Mexico City School District, where Brooks was a student, prior to his death.
According to a criminal complaint cited by Syracuse.com, multiple teachers and staffers raised concerns about the boy’s condition.
One teacher’s aide alleged that on one occasion, the teen showed up in class on a Monday wearing the same diapers he had on Friday.
School workers reported that Brooks would show up to school after a break feeling stiff, as if he had not been moved. They said he suffered from bleeding gums from an apparent lack of dental care and had trouble swallowing food and water, which required medical attention.
An investigator on the case wrote about the parents’ alleged failure ‘to move Jordan and/or remove him from his wheelchair frequently enough to prevent his bed sores from becoming infected or exposing his bones.’
A teaching assistant who was responsible for helping Brooks said his wheelchair smelled of urine and he often wet himself because he was wearing toddler-size diapers.
School staffers said they had repeatedly raised concerns with child protective services about Brooks, but claimed that little was done. It was alleged that a caseworker visited the boy’s home and concluded that everything was ‘fine.’
The parents appeared before a judge on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty
Anthony Waldron has a criminal record that included a burglary conviction
The Oswego County Social Services Department has not commented on the allegations that Brooks’ case may have been mishandled.
Social Services Commissioner Stacy Alvord released a statement that expressed condolences.
‘A lengthy and thorough investigation determined that this young man was not provided with the care he desperately needed and deserved,’ the statement read in part. ‘The matter is now in the hands of law enforcement and the courts. ‘
The Oswego County Department of Social Services (DSS) coordinates its efforts with law enforcement. We have faith and trust in our public safety and court systems that the justice this young man deserves will be served.
‘Law enforcement and criminal proceedings may ultimately provide further details of this tragedy, but DSS cannot comment on anything that could potentially impact a criminal investigation or compromise a fair trial.’
Anthony Waldron is due back in court on March 22, and both he and Lisa are scheduled to appear before a judge again on April 4.