PALERMO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – On Tuesday, NewsChannel 9 obtained the child fatality report related to Jordan Brooks, the 17-year-old Oswego County boy with cerebral palsy who died from malnutrition, infection and suspected neglect in May 2021.
The Oswego County Sheriff’s Office ruled Jordan’s death a homicide last week. His mother, Lisa Waldron, and stepfather, Anthony Waldron, are facing charges in connection to Jordan’s death including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person. The couple has since made bail.
The 14-page child fatality report, conducted by the New York State Children & Family Services in November 2021 six months after Jordan’s death, confirms the years of concern surrounding Jordan’s care…or lack thereof.
Below is a timeline of the reported concerns regarding Jordan’s care and well-being dating back to 2019:
First SCR report: April 23, 2019
This report includes concerns submitted to the Oswego County Department of Social Services on April 13, 2019.
Jordan, born with cerebral palsy, spent most of his time in a wheelchair. The call to Oswego County DSS concerned his mother, Lisa, and stepfather, Anthony.
The report summary concludes Jordan’s mother and stepfather only moved him from his wheelchair to sleep over the course of a 12-day school break, knowing he needed to be repositioned on a regular basis.
As a result, Jordan sustained open sores on his hip and underarm. At the same time, the report notes his wheelchair cushion was saturated in urine and covered in mold. Jordan’s pants would become wet because of the seat. A substantiated (SUB) report was received on June 12, 2019 which alleged the same concerns.
The determination for this report was “indicated” on July 19, 2019. Oswego County DSS interviewed family, who denied the allegations.
During this investigation, Jordan was measured for a new wheelchair. School staff reported other hygiene concerns and Jordan seemed like a healthy child.
The Office of Children & Family Services determined these allegations were not fully explored by the Oswego County DSS and case workers did not properly do their job after indicating and closing this case.
Second SCR report: May 12, 2020
Just over a year after the first SCR report, another report was submitted to Oswego County DSS.
This time, concerns were over Jordan’s need for a swallow test after struggling with eating and coughing. However, that test was never completed.
This report also raises the following concerns…
- Appeared very thin with sunken cheeks
- Not attending physical and occupational appointments as required
- Being left in soiled diapers for extended periods of times
- Having more severe bedsores and bandages were not changed regularly
- In need of a new wheelchair
After Oswego County DSS investigated these specific claims by interviewing family, Jordan’s pediatrician and service providers, case workers determined the allegations to be “unfounded” and closed the case.
Although an aide of Jordan’s was concerned he was malnourished, Jordan’s pediatrician noted no concerns regarding his weight or ability to swallow.
The swallow test and wheelchair fitting were ordered, but both appointments were delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Once again, Jordan’s family denied concerns in this report and the case was “unfounded” and closed by Oswego County DSS. The NYS Office of Children & Family Services concluded the investigation met all statutory requirements.
Third SCR report: March 9, 2021
It was a similar story with a third SCR report submitted last March, 3 months prior to Jordan’s death.
These concerns reported in the summary follow-up on the swallow test Jordan needed since 2019 and still had not received due to his mother, Lisa, failing to bring him to get it. This placed Jordan at risk of choking on food, not eating the appropriate foods and aspiration pneumonia.
Once again, Jordan was not attending physical and occupational therapy appointments 2 to 3 times a week as required because his mother was not complying.
As a result, Jordan was regressing physically, appeared weak, had sores on his face, discolored skin, dark circles around his eyes and was very thin. Jordan was also still being left in wet diapers which caused sores to his buttocks.
Although Oswego County DSS looked into these claims by interviewing family and collaterals, DSS determined the concerns to be “unfounded” and once again, closed yet another case.
The Office of Children & Family Services conclude the record did not reflect that Jordan was fully interviewed regarding general safety or the concerns in the report.
History prior to fatality:
Did the child have a history of alleged child abuse/maltreatment? This box in the report was checked “yes.”
According to Child Protective Services (CPS), Jordan’s family was involved in 5 Family Assessment Response (FAR) investigations from 2012 to 2017 with common allegations of…
- Excessive Corporal Punishment – (XCP)
- Inadequate Guardianship – (IG)
- Lacerations/Bruises/Welts – (L/B/W)
- Lack of Medical Care – (LMC)
- Inadequate Food/Clothing/Shelter – (IF/C/S)
There was no legal activity within 3 years of the fatality investigation and no known CPS history outside of New York, according to the child fatality report.
Fatality report: May 14, 2021
This SCR report was received on May 14, 2021, 5 days after Jordan’s death. This report was registered with allegations of…
- Malnutrition/Failure to Thrive
- Inadequate Guardianship
- DOA/Fatality against Jordan’s mother, Lisa Waldron, and stepfather, Anthony Waldron
At the time of Jordan’s death, he lived with his mother, stepfather and 13-year-old surviving sister. Jordan’s biological father is deceased, according to the report.
On May 9, 2021, Jordan’s mother bathed him and changed his diaper. While in his bedroom, Jordan stopped breathing, according to the report.
Jordan’s mother, Lisa, contacted 911 and police and emergency services responded. When they arrived, Jordan was unresponsive and found to be severely underweight and malnourished, weighing only 55 pounds.
Oswego County DSS received the report, investigated Jordan’s death and an autopsy was completed. However, the final autopsy report was not released at the time the NYS child fatality report was conducted in November 2021.
In the months leading up to his death, Jordan was last seen by his pediatrician on September 9, 2020, where records show he reportedly weighed 114 pounds according to his mother. There were no recent records to show Jordan had been seen by a doctor before his death.
Medical documentation based on the autopsy revealed Jordan had numerous pressures sores throughout his body, some of which were so severe that bone was exposed through his skin. Law enforcement noted they felt Jordan was “grossly neglected.”
Oswego County Department of Social Services response after Jordan’s death:
On May 14, 2021, Oswego County DSS received the SCR report regarding Jordan’s death and initiated their investigation within 24 hours.
That same day, county DSS workers spoke with law enforcement where they explained Jordan only weighed 55 pounds at the time of his death.
Also on May 14, 2021, Oswego County DSS met with Jordan’s surviving sister at a friend’s home where she was temporarily staying.
Jordan’s sister reported she last saw her brother on the evening he died and said he had been playing video games in his room at that time. When asked, Jordan’s sister denied any safety concerns in her home and denied she they were ever deprived of food. Jordan’s sister said she would change her brother’s diapers for him a few times a day.
After Oswego County DSS’ investigation, Jordan’s sister was deemed safe and no concerns surrounding her care were noted.
Oswego County DSS and law enforcement also visited the Waldron home on May 14, 2021. The home was observed to be free of any safety hazards. Jordan’s parents denied drug use in the home, any domestic violence and mental health concerns.
While leaving the house, Oswego County DSS and law enforcement found Jordan’s wheelchair outside that emitted a strong odor of urine, despite being outside for several days. The seat cushion was also black, covered in mold and parts of the wheelchair were rusted.
Also on May 14, 2021, Oswego County DSS observed photos taken of Jordan by law enforcement after his death. The record noted Jordan’s entire back was red and bleeding. There were several places on his body where bones were exposed, the most prominent being his tailbone.
Hardware from a hip implant was also exposed through the skin. Open and bleeding sores also covered his buttocks. Oswego County DSS described Jordan’s body as “appearing emaciated.”
On May 26, 2021, Oswego County DSS and law enforcement spoke with school staff who noted concerns Jordan’s mother was not repositioning Jordan. His diaper was not changed enough and his wheelchair needed adjustments that were never made. It was unclear when school staff last saw Jordan in person, according to the child fatality report.
Additional comments from Oswego County DSS:
“Thank you for acknowledging the fatality report has been done completely and properly to date. Given high caseload sizes, significant staffing issues, and the worldwide pandemic, we will do our best going forward. The current cause of death is still pending. Several service providers indicated there were no current concerns in the most recent investigation. They all indicated both mom and child were fully engaging in necessary services. These providers saw the child multiple times per week with no concerns throughout the investigation and case closure.”Oswego County Department of Social Services comments, NYS Child Fatality Report (page 13)
Both Lisa and Anthony Waldron are scheduled to appear back in the town of Palermo court on Monday, April 4 at 5:00 p.m.
Children’s lives depend on your courage. If you suspect a child is being abused, call the New York State child abuse hotline at 1-800-342-3720.
As the saying goes: if you see something, say something.