Mirror Images: In New Jersey, One Jackson Family Child-Abuse Case Foreshadowed Another

The case in our previous post, involving the alleged child abuse in the family of New Jersey’s John and Carolyn Jackson, has eerie echoes of another neglect story. It played out a decade ago. The 2003 events also took place in New Jersey; the evildoers were church-going, god-fearing folk who starved their adopted children; and their last name, improbably enough, was also Jackson.

From NBC Philadelphia:

Back on October 10, 2003, a neighbor found Bruce Jackson rummaging for food in a trash can in Collingswood, Camden County. Despite being 19 years old, Bruce weighed 45 pounds and stood only four feet tall. When police arrived, they found him disoriented, shoeless, cold, and extremely malnourished.

Police raided Bruce’s home where he was staying with his three brothers and adopted parents. Inside the home, [the officers] found 9-year-old Michael, who only weighed 23 pounds, 10-year-old Tyrone, who only weighed 28 pounds and 14-year-old Keith, who only weighed 40 pounds. Officials say the kids were eating uncooked pancake batter and wallboard to survive.

Police arrested their foster parents, Raymond and Vanessa Jackson [photo], charging them with 28 counts of child endangerment and aggravated assault.


Officials say during the time the four boys were starved, no one came forward, even though they were often seen in public. The parents often took the boys to the front row of their church [the Come Alive New Testament Church] in Medford, New Jersey. The family also often attended church picnics and the boys even sang for the church choir. Investigators say the parents claimed the boys were emaciated because of medical problems.

Raymond Jackson, 51, died of complications from a stroke a year and a half after his arrest. Vanessa Jackson ultimately pled guilty and was sentenced to seven years behind bars.

The case has its own Wikipedia entry, which, by the way, NBC’s David Chang appears to have plagiarized without credit or attribution.

[image via Wikipedia]