When policeman Jody Thompson was off duty, he was alerted to an incident of child abuse. With a proven track record, having handled many abuse cases in the past, the cop was considered the perfect man for the job.
A Life Changing Experience
Without hesitation, Thompson offered to help. But what the cop from Oklahoma would find at the scene of the crime was far being his wildest expectations. What was revealed to him would completely turn his life upside down.
It Was Just A Normal Day
Let’s start at the beginning. It was 2015 and for Jody Thompson, it just felt like any other day. Although he was off duty, the seasoned cop started his day by dropping off his partner at the Poteau Police Department in Oklahoma. As he was pulling into the parking lot as he usually would, he noticed something a little different. Thompson could hear a call regarding a case of child abuse. Naturally, this caught his attention.
A Different Type Of Radio Call
For Thompson, this shouldn’t have been anything new. The cop had been here before. There were many times that he had been off duty but had attended to a case that was not his own after overhearing a dispatch. But Thompson had a strange feeling. He firmly believed that today was going to be different. It was going to be unlike any day he had ever experienced in his long career.
He Wasn’t On Duty
Amazingly, Thompson wasn’t even on duty when he decided to take action. As soon as he heard the call, he knew he needed to help. This was just the kind of cop that Thompson was: a man who would always rise above the call of duty in order to help his team restore justice to their local community. “I thought I would respond to the call with on-duty officers to see if I could give any kind of assistance,” Thompson said.
But Thompson wasn’t just compelled to help. He felt like he could lend his expertise and experience in order to help his on-duty officers. 16 years before joining the police department, Thompson worked as an investigator at the district attorney’s office. “I’ve investigated child abuse cases before,” Thompson said. “I thought I’d better go ahead and respond.” After investigating many other abuse-related cases in the past, this was by far the worst thing he had ever seen.
Arriving At The Scene
Driving to the scene, Thompson wondered what could’ve made the case so bad. Here’s a man who had thought he had seen it all as far as abuse-related cases were concerned. When he arrived at the location of the scene, Thompson couldn’t believe what he would find. Not even two decades worth of experience could prepare Thompson for what he was about to see. The scene would completely outdo everything he had already he seen.
He Found A Boy
At the scene of the crime, Thompson found an eight year old boy who look terribly gaunt. He was severely underweight and his wrists had been tied together with leather belts. He was covered in bruises and he had a big lump on the top of his head. And as if things couldn’t have seemed any worse – the poor boy, who weighed only 61lbs at the time, was revealed to have been put in a bin full of freezing cold water.
A Group Effort
Poteau Police Chief Stephen Fruen was also part of the rescue for the poor boy. “When we found him he was bound by his hands and his feet with rope and had been submerged in a trash can held in the shower,” he said of what they found. “They weren’t feeding him. He didn’t have much to eat. I think what he did get to eat he got at school. Bruises, he was covered in bruises from head to toe.”
What Was Going Through His Mind?
The image would forever be ingrained in Thompson’s mind. He was whirled up in a mix of emotions. On the one hand, he was absolutely horrified when he saw the conditions that the boy had been living in. But on the other, he was absolutely heartbroken when he found this scared and confused eight year old. He was completely hopeless, starving and hidden away from the outside world, wondering if he’d ever leave.
The Moment They Met
Thompson couldn’t prepare himself for how he would feel after seeing the boy. “When I seen him. When I seen him in that house…I knew,” he said. The cop felt so sure about this little boy. It was as if something greater than himself had brought Thompson to the young victim’s attention. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he firmly believed that it was destiny that brought him to the boy’s rescue.
Time To Take Action
The cop knew straight away that he needed to do something about it. “When I’d seen him in that house shivering and his hands tied — just soaking wet from confusion,” he said. “I knew at that moment the only time I would be satisfied and sure that he was safe is if he was with me.” So he took the boy, wrapped him in a blanket and took him to Oklahoma Institute for Children’s Advocacy to take photos of his injuries.
But Who Was He?
The boy’s face told Thompson everything he needed to know. Here was a good child who had gone through hell and back. These are conditions that no one should have to go through. And against all the odds, this little boy overcame everything that had been thrown at him. But Thompson needed to find out how he got here. And who did he belong to in the first place? One thing was for certain though – the boy’s name was John.
So after Thompson and the rest of the rescue team had photos taken of John’s injuries at the Children’s Advocacy Center, they proceeded to the hospital in order to treat the boy. After suffering an incredible amount of injuries, John was admitted to an intensive care unit. But Thompson chose to stay by his side for the entirety of his recovery in intensive care. In his words, he sat next to him “all night until the next day.”
But for Thompson, this was simply not enough. Ever since he saw the little boy on that fateful day, he knew that he wanted to take care of him for the rest of his days. “When I’d seen him in that house shivering and his hands tied, just soaking wet and confused, I knew at that moment the only time I would be satisfied and sure that he was safe is if he was with me,” Thompson said.
The Decision Was Made
It was at this point that the cop decided to take matters into his own hands and make the ultimate gesture. Thompson was so determined to give John a better life and in his mind, the best way for him to do that was to directly make him a part of his life. The following day, he contacted the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and inquired to see if he could become John’s certified foster parent.
He Kept It A Secret
At first, the move wasn’t straightforward. Thompson had acted on instinct and as a result, needed to take others into consideration. He took in John for his own wellbeing. But after already being a father of two sons (15 and eight years old, respectively), he decided not to tell his family about the new addition, at first. Naturally, when they did find out, Thompson’s family were taken aback by his decision. But ultimately, they trusted that what he was doing was right.
Once his wife and kids were on board with the decision, they made it official. The Thompsons formally adopted John, giving him a home, food and all the love he had been lacking in his first eight years. On April 30th, 2015, the Thompsons officially welcomed John into their home. The cop’s kids were ecstatic to have a new brother in their lives and Thompson and his wife couldn’t wait to help John put his old life behind him and give him a new one.
More Good News
John said that he’d be forever grateful for his new family, especially for his heroic father. “He’s the reason I’m here right now,” he said. But John’s arrival wasn’t the only reason the Thompsons had to rejoice. Only two days after John entered his new home, Jody learned that his wife had become pregnant with their third son. It seemed that in light of Thompson’s act of loving kindness, his family was benefitting and growing as a result.
Fast forward a few years later, and John is now reaping the rewards after being rescued by his heroic new father. He is now a straight-A student and has been a keen participant in a program for gifted and talented children. Pieces of art like this great Superman emblem clearly demonstrate John’s unlimited potential and eye for creativity. It also shows John’s absolute gratitude to his father Jody for saving his life and changing it for the better.
Outside of academics, John is a lover of Pokemon and animals in general. Jody and John share a passion for the latter and often go to Oklahoma Aquarium during the weekends. His passions are a testament to just how far he has come since his days of abuse. Thompson said that “John doesn’t let the situation he was in define him. Every day I am amazed at the kid that he has become and I am very proud of him.”
Wait, There’s More!
“But the story gets even more incredible,” Thompson explained. What can only be described as a domino effect only brought more good news to the Thompsons. On November 3rd, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security called Jody and his family. Now that Jody and his wife were John’s parents, they needed to be informed about any matters revolving around John’s biological family. When they were given the news, they couldn’t believe what they were hearing.
From The Least Likely Of Places
Another life had arrived in the Thompsons’ life. But it wasn’t the type that they were expecting. It turns out that John’s biological mother had given birth while she was incarcerated. She delivered a baby girl on November 3rd, 2015. And so the Department of Homeland Security determined the Thompsons as the next legal alternative for the baby to be turned over to. They asked the family if they would be interested in also fostering her.
The family took the baby girl in a heartbeat. They couldn’t imagine John being separated from his baby sister and relished the idea of also giving her a good quality of life. “We literally picked her up in the hospital the next day when she was a day old and brought her straight home,” Thompson said. Her name was Paizley, and even though John loves his other siblings, he was absolutely delighted to have a sister he could truly call his own.
True Closure For John
With time, both John and his sister Paizley were able to find true closure after such terrible beginnings. It just goes to show that even those who have come from the darkest of places can blossom into luminaries of light and goodness. After a fairly long trial, their biological parents relinquished all of their parental rights. Paizley was now fit for adoption too, and on February 16th, 2017, she officially became a part of Jody’s family too.
One Big Happy Family
After a series of serendipitous events, Jody now had a large but happy family.” Never in my life did I dream of having a large family,” he said. “but God had different plans and so here we are. And I’m loving it all.” Jody and his wife could now be proud in saying that they had the privilege of caring for their children Charley, Ryan, Zaven, Jeannie, John and Paizley. Over 15 years separated the oldest (Ryan) from the youngest (Paizley).
Honored For His Heroics
But the celebrations did not stop with his family. Jody was eventually honored for his effort and contribution to law and order when he received a certificate of commendation from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations. Police chief Fruen praised Thompson, saying, “All of us can sit back and say we would do the same in that situation, but to come through with it and to do that, that’s a measure of a man — and a very good police officer,” he said.
Praise Was Due
Police chief Fruen went on to say that “Jody’s actions as well has his family’s are second to none. The example of love and compassion he has shown to this young man and his sister is an example everyone should follow.” He called Jody a role model for all policemen, and that “it’s men like you that make me proud of our law enforcement brothers and sisters. You are very deserving of this commendation. I am proud to serve with you.”
Everyone Needs A Hero
Jody must have been extremely proud after receiving his certificate of commendation. All his work colleagues watched him as he walked through his office to accept the certificate. His family stood by his side as he was praised in front of his team. A great cop, husband and father, Jody seemed to affect everyone around him in the most positive of ways. But there’s no doubt that the person who was most proud of him was his biggest admirer – his son. John.
The Most Resilient Of Kids
Thompson looks up to John just as much, if not more. He is amazed at how easy his new son has settled into his family and is thriving in all aspects of his life. “John is amazing,” he said. “He’s a straight-A student, on the honor roll, in the gifted and talented program, involved in the local drama club.” He only has good things to say about John’s progress, saying that the “kid’s very resilient. He bounced back from this.”
Sharing His Story
Now that John has had time to recover from his traumatic past, Thompson has claimed that his son now wants to share his story in an effort to help victims who are going through the trials and tribulations that he did at such a young age. “We went through something bad, but we’re not going got let it define who were are. We’re not going to let this hold us back,” said John’s dad. “Always have compassion, you never know what you’re going to walk into.”