A judge on Monday sentenced a Utah woman to up to 45 years in prison after authorities say she starved her 12-year-old son and kept him locked in a bathroom, under surveillance, for months and possibly more than a year, according to multiple news reports.
Thirty-six-year-old Brandy Jaynes, of Toquerville, Utah, was ordered to serve one-to-15 years consecutively in Utah State Prison on three felony counts of second-degree intentional child abuse, to which she had pleaded guilty in July, local TV station KUTV and the Salt Lake Tribune report.
Judge Eric Ludlow denied a request from Jayne’s attorney, Edward Flint, to consolidate all three of the counts into one, according to KUTV.
Flint, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE, also unsuccessfully sought to have the sentences run concurrently, KUTV reports.
Jaynes kept her son locked inside the bathroom for months, authorities have said. The Spectrum & Daily News reports that, according to prosecutors, evidence suggested the boy had been kept in isolation for seven or eight years. His siblings told authorities that he’d been in the bathroom for at least a year, which Jaynes’ attorney disputed, according to the Tribune, and investigators previously told PEOPLE the boy may have been kept there for two years.
Investigators said Jaynes starved her son — leaving him so malnourished that he weighed only about 30 lbs. when he was found in January. He was so weak he could not stand on his own, authorities previously told PEOPLE.
His father, Jaynes’ estranged husband, Russell Jaynes, is accused of failing to prevent his suffering and is also charged with child abuse. Russell is expected to appear in court on Sept. 19, when his case may be resolved, according to the Tribune.
It remains unclear what may have motivated Brandy Jaynes to inflict such prolonged abuse on her son. During her sentencing, authorities again detailed the scene of the boy’s captivity — what one investigator previously described to PEOPLE as “like a horror movie.”
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years I’ve never seen anything like this,” the judge said at the sentencing on Monday, according to the Spectrum. “I’ve handled murder cases, rape cases, and I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s unbelievable, quite frankly.”
Deputy Washington County, Utah, Attorney Angie Reddish-Day read a letter in court from the couple’s son, written with the help of his foster parents, that she described as “heart-wrenching,” according to the Spectrum.
“She did horrible things to me, but she’s still my mom,” the victim said in his letter. “I feel safe now. I started feeling safe when I got away from her.”
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The boy’s statement continued: “Instead of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would only get one meal of a couple of hot dogs every other day for months. I felt frozen when I was drenched with ice cold water in the winter.”
The Jaynes’ son was found in January in the small bathroom, which officials have said was covered in feces and urine. It was Russell who found the boy lying on the bathroom floor and rushed him to a nearby hospital, police told PEOPLE.
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The boy, now 13, had been taken out of school in December 2012, prosecutors said, according to the Tribune. He and his siblings are now reportedly in state custody.
In a letter to the court, Brandy said that she “screwed up by not getting help,” the Tribune reports. A pre-sentence report stated that she had no remorse for what she did, but Flint, her attorney, disagreed.
“This is not the story of a witch that needs to be burned at the stake. That’s the popular sentiment,” he said in court, according to the Spectrum. “This is the story of a woman who began to fail in her duties to her family, in particular to one son who needed help in a different matter, and she failed in that regard and things got worse. Instead of admitting she couldn’t do it anymore and getting help, she compounded things and made them worse.”
Officials with the Washington County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
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