Officer Jody Thompson had seen too many cases of child abuse in his 16 years of serving with the Poteau Police Department.

He was just getting off his shift in April 20115 when he heard a dispatch for a child abuse case. But, according to the Poteau Police Department, he took the case anyway.

In April 2015 you (Patrolman Jody Thompson) responded to a 911 call of an 8 year old boy who had freed himself from…

Posted by Poteau Police Department on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Officer Thompson responded to the operator and started heading to the scene. He told CBS News:

“I’ve investigated child abuse cases before. I thought I’d better go ahead and respond.”

Posted by Poteau Police Department on Friday, May 13, 2016

When he arrived, Officer Thompson found an eight-year-old boy covered in bruises and severely underweight.

The boy’s name was John. He had been bound by belts, placed inside of a trash can filled with cold water, and starved by his parents. Earlier that day, he had broken free and was able to get help.

It was one of the worst things Thompson had ever seen. As a dad, his heart went out to the thin, little boy in front of him.

John was rushed to the emergency room where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. The officer refused to leave his side. He knew right away that he wanted to take care of him.

Screenshot/KFSM

Even before consulting his wife, the officer reached out to child services and received permission to be a foster parent. A few days later, he brought the boy home. He was welcomed with open arms.

Officer Thompson already had two sons at home. He soon learned that his wife was pregnant and that John had a baby sister. The family grew in a matter of months from four people to seven.

Screenshot/KFSM

The dad told CBS News:

“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.”

John was formally adopted in August 2016. His former parents have yet to relinquish parental rights for his younger sister.

On June 28, 2017, Officer Thompson was honored for his dedication to protecting members of his community. His son, John, stood proudly with him.

Posted by Poteau Police Department on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

According to Child Help, a reported 3.6 million cases of child abuse are reported annually. An estimated 702,000 children are victims of maltreatment every year and 1,580 children die from abuse and neglect.

On any given day, an estimated 428,000 children in the U.S. are in the foster system.

In this case, John and his sister found a safe new home. Officer Thompson told KFSM that John had to face his parents in court earlier this year. They are currently incarcerated and will soon see their day in court.

John is now a straight A student in his elementary school. He refuses to let his past circumstances define the person he is today.

He told KFSM that he’s grateful to his new family and especially his dad, “He’s the reason why I’m here right now.”

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