A police officer and father-of-two responded to a call for child abuse. When he pulled up to the house, he had no idea his life as he knew it would be forever changed. Upon entering the home, the cop was left trembling at the sight in front of him.
Officer Jody Thompson and his wife.
Officer Jody Thompson was just pulling into the Poteau Police Department in Oklahoma to drop off his partner when he heard a call he couldn’t ignore. Although he wasn’t on duty at the time, he was compelled to respond and offer assistance when he overheard a dispatch call about a case of physical child abuse.
Sadly, it was something Officer Thompson was all too familiar with since he was previously an investigator for the district attorney’s office, handling dozens of abuse cases. “I’ve investigated child abuse cases before,” Thompson told CBS News. “I thought I’d better go ahead and respond.” This case, however, would be much different than any he’d seen before.
Officer Jody Thompson and John
After arriving at the scene, Thompson found an 8-year-old boy who had been submerged in a trash can full of cold water. That boy, Thompson realized, would become his son. “When I seen him. When I seen him in that house — I knew,” he recalled, according to KFSM News 5. “He did not have a spot on his body that didn’t have a bruise or abrasion. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
At only 61 pounds, the boy, named John, was severely underweight. His wrists were bound by belts. He had bruises all along his back, a huge knot on his head, and was in desperate need of medical attention. After covering John with a blanket, Thompson personally drove him to the hospital and refused to leave his side. “I sat with him,” Thompson said. “And, when he was admitted into the intensive care unit, I sat all night until the next day.”
Knowing he couldn’t bear to ever leave John out of his sight, Thompson quickly got the ball rolling, determined to show this child a father’s love. “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 day after finding the boy who would become his son, Officer Thompson contacted the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) and became a certified foster parent. A couple of days later, he brought John home to his wife and his other sons, who were 8 and 15 years old at the time. Little did Thompson know, his family was about to get a whole lot bigger too. In a very short time, the family of 4 became a family a 5 — then a family of 7.
Officer Jody Thompson with John and family
Two days after welcoming John into their home, Officer Thompson found out his wife was pregnant with their third biological son. “But the story gets even more incredible,” Thompson explained. Indeed, while awaiting the birth of their child nearly 7 months later, DHS called and told the Thompsons that John’s mother had given birth to a little girl while in jail. The Thompsons jumped at the chance to become her parents too.
“We literally picked her up in the hospital the next day when she was a day old and brought her straight home,” Thompson said, recalling the moment he and his wife were blessed with a little girl named Paizley. “Never in my life did I dream of having a large family, but God had different plans and so here we are. And, I’m loving it all.”
The Thompsons formally adopted John when his biological parents, both incarcerated and awaiting criminal trials, relinquished their parental rights. When it came to their new daughter, however, her biological parents put up a fight. After a lengthy jury trial and appeal, however, their parents’ rights were terminated and the Thompsons adopted their little girl.
Thompson says he has John, who he referred to as “the toughest guy I’ve ever met,” to thank for completing their family since his son testified on his own behalf during the trial. “John is amazing. He’s a straight-A student, on the honor roll, in the gifted and talented program, involved in the local drama club,” Thompson said of his son, two years after he found him. “That kid’s very resilient. He bounced back from this.”
John wanted to share his story in hopes of helping other abuse victims like himself, Thompson explained. “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,” he said.
“Always have compassion, you never know what you’re going to walk into,” Thompson added as words of encouragement for his fellow officers. He has since been recognized for his display of compassion that definitely went above and beyond the call of duty.
As Officer Jody Thompson graciously accepted a certificate of commendation from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations, his son John stood by his side. “Jody’s actions, as well as his families, are second to none,” Poteau Police Chief Stephen Fruen said in a statement.
“The example of love and compassion he has shown to this young man and his sister is an example everyone should follow,” the statement added. “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.” We couldn’t have said it any better.