Foster Mother’s Attorney Speaks About Branded Boy
Posted: Aug 13, 2009 6:36 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 14, 2009 12:33 PM EDT
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma — Authorities are unclear who placed a boy in the custody of a foster mother who is accused of abusing the child with a heated potato masher.
An arrest warrant was issued for Joycelyn S. Louis after police say she burned the child with a heated potato masher several times. The foster child was diagnosed with multiple second and third-degree burns on his arm and leg.
“She would heat it up on the oven and touch it on his skin as punishment,” Midwest City police Major Sid Porter said.
Louis told her attorney, Gary Higginbotham, that she’s cared for the boy since he was an infant. Earlier this month, Higginbotham said his client has more than 30 years of experience with foster children and has cared for more than 100 children.
Records with the California Department of Social Services prove otherwise. According to the department’s spokeswoman, Louis was only licensed as a foster parent between April 2000 and March 2006 and fostered 38 children.
Louis’ attorney also said it was his understanding the child was born in California and Louis started caring for the child through the California foster system.
However, the California Department of Social Services says Louis surrendered her license to care for foster children when she moved to Oklahoma in March 2006.
During that time, Louis received one complaint from the state for not reporting a child’s injury in a timely manner. It was an injury that was not Louis’ fault, according to the state of California.
“When she left she didn’t take anybody with her,” said Lizelda Lopez, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Social Services.
Lopez says its possible Louis fostered the child here in Oklahoma, but according to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, that’s not the case.
“She’s not authorized to be a foster parent here in Oklahoma”, said DHS Spokeswoman Lauri Monetti.
Higginbotham says while Louis may have only been a legal foster parent for six years, it’s still factual that she cared for kids, other than hers, for more than three decades.
“She was the go-to person for family, friends and neighbors”, said Higginbotham. “In California, she was known as ‘mama-Louis’. She has a long history of caring for her children and the children of others.”
While it’s unclear who placed the boy in Louis’ custody, police in Midwest City say he’s in protective custody now.
Higginbotham says Louis is currently receiving medical treatment at an undisclosed facility. Midwest City police say when she’s released they’ll take her into custody.
MIDWEST CITY — It’s one of the worst cases of child abuse Midwest City Police say they’ve ever seen. A foster mother accused of branding a child all over his body.
Chief Brandon Clabes, Midwest City Police Department, said “You know how painful it is when you just get a minor burn. Can you imagine this poor, little 9 year old being repeatedly branded by a woman who’s supposed to be taking care of him & loving him?”
Midwest City Police say the 9-year-old boy suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns from his foster mother as a punishment.
Clabes said, “The foster mother accused him of stealing money from her. At that point she took this potato masher, heated it on the stove to where it was red hot & branded him.”
The boy told police he then went back to his bedroom, started crying and then the 72-year-old foster mother Joycelyn Louis told him “I’m not finished with you” and continued to burn him. She then allegedly told him, if anybody asks, “say you were accidentally burned.”
The foster mother refused to talk with police, but on the affidavit we see she told a DHS worker, “the child would not listen so she she heated the potato masher on the stove and pressed it lightly to his skin on his arms.”
The boy is in DHS custody. (The boy was in DHS custody when this happened too, that is what being in the care of a foster parent is…, why do they write this statement…just because they are in DHS custody…doesn’t mean that they are safe. This story more then proves that!)Police are waiting for a warrant for Louis’ arrest. We went to her house and family-owned business to talk to her, but her family said she did not want to talk to us.