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May 22, 2014

Latta couple charged in child abuse case

Ada — Two people accused of child abuse were charged in Pontotoc County District Court Wednesday.

Jeffery Graham, 35, and Brandy Graham, 38, both of Latta, appeared before Judge Steven Kessinger and were charged with four felonies apiece. The Grahams were each charged with two counts of child abuse by injury, one count of child neglect and one count of enabling child abuse.

The Grahams were arrested May 2 on suspicion that they had allegedly severely abused Jeffery’s son, according to Sheriff John Christian. Authorities are not releasing the boy’s name because of his age.

Christian said the boy’s injuries were discovered when the Grahams took him to a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment. The doctor discovered the injuries and had the boy taken to Mercy Hospital Ada for treatment, and child welfare officials with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services were notified.

Christian said at the doctor’s appointment, the 9-year-old boy, who has cerebral palsy and uses a walker and leg braces to walk, weighed only 35 pounds.

According to an affidavit filed by Deputy Roland Vietzke, deputies visited the boy in the hospital and said the boy had “multiple coloring stages of bruises throughout his body.”

The boy told deputies his father and stepmother duct-taped him to his bed and that a few days before, Brandy Graham put his hands behind his back and slammed his head against the wall multiple times and spread his legs. The boy said as they were leaving the house the day of the doctor’s appointment, Brandy Graham pushed him down a ramp at his home and he collapsed. He said Jeffery Graham then forced him into the car at a fast rate of speed, causing him to collapse again. The boy said his parents would sometimes put a rag in his mouth to keep the neighbors from hearing him yell.

During interviews, the Grahams denied the abuse. Brandy Graham told deputies they had duct-tapped the boy to his bed before, but only for short periods of time to keep him in his bed by any means to protect his other siblings, according to the affidavit. She reportedly told deputies they had indeed put a washcloth in his mouth to keep the boy from biting himself or others during physical therapy.

According to the affidavit, Jeffery Graham denied abuse and said he had suspicions Brandy Graham was being mean to the boy, but wasn’t sure what to believe because the boy changed his story.

The Grahams are currently being held in the Pontotoc County Justice Center on bonds of $500,000 apiece. They are scheduled to appear in district court again at 8:30 a.m. June 26.

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