CW: Abuse & Neglect:
A 45-year-old man with an intellectual disability was neglected to the point that he weighed 70 pounds and had many physical injuries, including flesh rot and mutilation. When authorities were called to the Highland Bayou RV Park on Highway 6 last Wednesday night, he was also missing teeth and a portion of his lower lip, according to Hitchcock, TX, police.
First responders were already at the man’s residence, where authorities said he was unresponsive and needed life-saving treatment. According to the police department, he had intellectual and physical disabilities. Officers also saw that he had considerable muscular atrophy and was covered in bedsores, feces, and urine.
The police department then went on to detail the alleged abuse. An inquiry revealed that the man had been confined to his room at the back of his RV home for nearly two weeks, as demonstrated by scars and scabs on his body. According to the police, his biological mother, Billie Jean Barnes, 66, and stepfather, Timothy Ray Ellis, 51, restrained him.
Officers learned that Ellis appeared to have tried treating his stepson’s injuries utilizing a primitive, holistic approach without any training. The treatment occurred as the alleged abuse continued. He was restrained and bound. Ellis also removed his stepson’s cauliflower ear. Subsequently, Ellis stitched the wound closed.
Cauliflower ear is a disfigurement produced by direct, blunt trauma to the auricle and surrounding tissue. Cauliflower ear is caused by fibrocartilage and fibrosis, which occurs when the auricular cartilage loses its blood supply. Typically observed in wrestlers or boxers, the condition can occur in any sport when the pinna is subjected to considerable shearing or impact pressures, resulting in an auricular hematoma. The hematoma elevates the auricular perichondrium from the underlying cartilage, devascularizing it. Blood builds up in the subperichondrial area, causing necrosis, infection, and cartilage loss if left untreated.
There has been little research done regarding the confluence of violence and disability. However, statistics show that those with disabilities are frequently victims of crimes and face abuse. According to data from 2017 to 2019, disabled people accounted for 26% of nonfatal violent crimes, despite constituting only 12% of the population and being victims of violence at nearly four times the rate of non-disabled people.
Disabled people deserve to have the best quality of life they can. Our lives are valuable. It is heartbreaking to me that his parents didn’t care for him. Nobody should be abused and neglected by their parents. Abuse is a tragedy that must be stopped before it’s too late.
Alfonseca, Kiara. “Crime against Disabled People Is Rising and Advocates Say More Needs to Be Done.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 21 Nov. 2022, https://abcnews.go.com/US/crime-disabled-people-rising-advocates/story?id=81210410.
Lewis, Derrick. “’That’s Horrible’: Neighbors in Shock after Parents Charged, Accused of Abusing Disabled Son.” ABC13 Houston, The American Broadcasting Company, 4 Dec. 2022, https://abc13.com/parents-abuse-disabled-son-hitchcock-disability-billie-barnes-charged-timothy-ellis/12523569/.
Patel BC, Skidmore K, Hutchison J, et al. Cauliflower Ear. [Updated 2022 Aug 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470424/