Three children (JTW, a 6-year-old boy; SRB, a 5-year-old girl; and HRW, a 4-year-old girl) were imprisoned, starved, and beaten by their adoptive parents, Joshua Ross Weyant and Brandi Jene Weyant. The children were homeschooled. Five other children who lived in the home, including a 17-year-old girl, were not reported to be abused.
JTW and HRW are the biological children of Jess David, who lost custody of them due to her heroin addiction. They went to live with Joshua Weyant because he was dating their mother at the time of their birth. SRB was reportedly not the biological child of either Weyant. Joshua Weyant served one month in prison in 2015 for the rape of a child (an incident which occurred in 2013) and returned to live with the children in March 2016. No one outside the home saw the children after summer 2016. According to the school superintendent, “the Weyants were sent a kindergarten registration packet, but because none of the children were of the legal school age of 8-years-old, they did not have to report the lack of response.” Though Joshua claimed to have completed homeschool paperwork, the school district had no record of this. The children had not been seen by a doctor since May 2014.
Beginning in September 2016, when Brandi Weyant fell ill, the children were kept locked in an unheated bedroom while the Weyants slept in a heated room; when they were rescued, the children had hypothermia. The children were found with “dirt, animal hair, urine, and feces in their clothing” and severe cases of lice. JTW had an eye wound caused by Joshua Weyant throwing him across the room. SRB reported that Brandi Weyant had punched her in the face as punishment for drinking tea. Both JTW and SRB were dangerously underweight and doctors reported that they would have died of starvation within a week if they were not rescued. All three children suffered from refeeding syndrome. HRW was also starved and beaten but her abuse was less severe than that of her siblings; Joshua Weyant reportedly favored her over the other two and investigators found a locked room in their house with numerous photos of her but no photos of other family members. Brandi Weyant told police she had asked her husband to “get rid of the children.”
The abuse came to light when police and social services visited the house in response to a tip. The children were hospitalized and the Weyants were charged with assault, false imprisonment, and child endangerment.
Date: December 16, 2016
Location: Halifax Township, Pennsylvania