Greenville Man Found Guilty of Human Trafficking, Sentenced to Life in Prison
HUNT COUNTY, TX – After a 25 minute deliberation, a Hunt County jury found Jeffery Barrett guilty of a human trafficking case in Greenville.
On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the jury found Barrett guilty of abusing his three adopted children.
“It is heartbreaking to know this horrid abuse was happening in our state, and it is unfathomable that a person could be so heartless to abuse the foster care system and use children in need of a loving, safe home as slave labor,” said Paxton in a prepared statement.
According to investigators, Barrett subjected his adopted children to continuous abuse through isolation and coercion, making the children work at his puppy mill for years and not allowing them to attend school.
During the seizure, the puppies were taken under the care of the SPCA, and the children were removed from the home.
Barrett was sentenced to life in prison and a $10,000 fine, which is the maximum sentence for this offense.
This verdict comes after Barret’s wife, Barbara, was sentenced to 99 years for the continuous trafficking of children.
“There is no excuse for this evil behavior, and it will not be tolerated in our state,” Paxton said.
Medical experts say Elijah Lewis appears to have been ‘tortured’
Autopsy raises new questions about texts sent by New Hampshire child’s mother
The sores were something you’d see on someone living in a derelict nursing home — or someone held in restraints. The malnourishment hinted at weeks, if not months, without adequate food. And then there was the trauma to the head.
The final days of 5-year-old Elijah Lewis’s short life remain shrouded in mystery, but medical experts say the recent autopsy findings alone suggest the shaggy-haired little boy from Merrimack, N.H., suffered a level of abuse that went far beyond what they typically see.
“It’s more than just . . . minor medical neglect,” said Alice W. Newton, medical director of the Child Protection Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It would fall into the category of torture, really.”
The autopsy results also raise new questions about text messages sent by the boy’s mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, who is being held without bail in New Hampshire along with her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30. In the January texts sent to a friend and obtained by the Globe, Dauphinais said she argued with Stapf’s mother for giving Elijah too much food, saying “this child will eat till he pukes.” Stapf’s mother, according to Dauphinais’s text, said it was “child abuse” to withhold food from a child.
Reached Monday, Dauphinais’s attorney, Jaye Rancourt, declined to comment on the messages, saying that “without verification that this is actually a text message from my client, I can’t really respond. This could be a complete fabrication.”
The texts match a detailed description of the messages given by the person who originally received them.
Questions about the circumstances of Elijah’s death have only grown since his body was discovered in the woods of Abington, Mass., on Oct. 23, following a 10-day search that included law enforcement agencies from at least five states. Since then, authorities have released little in the way of details as they continue to investigate. Meanwhile, relatives and people who lived near the child’s home in Merrimack say they seldom saw the boy in the months leading up to his disappearance.
The Massachusetts medical examiner’s office last month ruled the boy’s death a homicide, determining the cause to be “violence and neglect, including facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment and pressure ulcers.” Pressure ulcers, more commonly referred to as bedsores, are typically found in bedridden people unable to change position.
But neither Dauphinais nor Stapf has been charged with murder. Instead, they are being held on charges of child endangerment and witness tampering related to their alleged attempts to mislead investigators trying to determine the boy’s whereabouts in October. Both have pleaded not guilty.
It remains unclear how involved New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families was with the boy prior to his disappearance. The agency has declined to comment on the case, though authorities have said that DCYF initially reported the boy missing to law enforcement on Oct. 14, and Dauphinais told a friend last June that she’d been in contact with the agency.
Texts sent by Dauphinais to another friend and obtained by the Globe make it clear that she had serious concerns about her son, including the amount he ate, at least nine months before the boy was discovered missing.
In a text to a friend on Jan. 7, Dauphinais complained that Stapf’s mother, Joanne — with whom the couple shared a home — was feeding the boy against her wishes. Dauphinais said Joanne Stapf would also “baby him and love on him” even when Elijah acted up. “I made Elijah a decent plate of food and she insisted on giving him seconds,” Dauphinais wrote in a January text. “I told her no because this child will eat till he pukes and then eat some more. I also told her that he’s having cake after so there is no need for seconds.” “She said I was wrong and that was child abuse,” Dauphinais continued. “She said that she’s an Italian grandma and that she considers this child abuse in her family. Like wtf!”
According to two physicians who spoke with the Globe, both of whom specialize in cases of child abuse or neglect, the details outlined in the autopsy report paint a particularly grim picture. Though neither is involved with the case or privy to case files, both described the autopsy findings to be extreme, even within the realm of neglect cases.
“This is not like an everyday thing,” said Dr. Suzanne Haney, a Nebraska-based child abuse pediatrician who serves as the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Child Abuse and Neglect. “This extreme of a case, fortunately, is very rare.”
Both doctors described the bedsores, in particular, as highly irregular in a developmentally normal child. The painful, circular lesions are almost never seen in young, physically mobile patients, leading them to believe that Elijah could have been restrained in some way prior to his death.
“Skin breakdown or bedsores is not something you’d ever see in a healthy 5-year-old,” said Newton. “That, to me, speaks to being tied down . . . or [being] so weak or malnourished that he was unable to move at the end of his life.”
Added Haney, “If you combine malnourishment and pressure ulcers, I’m thinking he was either restrained or his malnourishment was to the point where . . . he was unconscious or semiconscious for a period of time.”
Either condition would’ve been a red flag to doctors, said Newton — but it’s unclear whether Dauphinais ever took Elijah to see a physician in New Hampshire.
Born in Arizona in 2016, the boy spent much of his early life in the custody of his father following his parents’ contentious 2017 divorce. In divorce paperwork, Timothy Lewis accused Dauphinais of being “violent and impulsive” and having a “history of domestic violence and substance abuse.” A decree approved by the court blocked Dauphinais from spending time with her son.
Last May, however, for unclear reasons, Elijah arrived in New Hampshire to live with Dauphinais and her boyfriend, Stapf.
Though initially excited by her son’s arrival, Dauphinais, two friends said, soon became exasperated by what she described as the boy’s myriad behavioral issues. In texts to a friend last summer, Dauphinais likened her son to a serial killer, saying she felt no connection to the child and that she wanted him “gone.”
One friend, Michelle O’Brien, who has known Dauphinais since both were teenagers, told the Globe she’d provided the name of a pediatrician to Dauphinais, but did not know whether she ever followed up on it.
The office of New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella, which is handling the case, has declined to release records of previous police visits to the home that Dauphinais and Stapf shared, though neighbors said police were a common presence at the residence, which backs up to a quiet lake.
New Hampshire Representative Kimberly Rice, who chairs the House committee on children and family law, acknowledged that the state’s child welfare agency has suffered from staffing issues that have left it hamstrung.
“I don’t think they’re doing a bad job at DCYF,” said Rice. “We have positions that need to be filled that are funded, but the people aren’t there, and if the people aren’t there, I don’t know how you continue to hold an agency accountable when you can’t get the positions filled.”
As the criminal case moves forward, meanwhile, Moira O’Neill, director of the New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate, said her office would be opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Elijah’s death.
Appointed by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu in 2018, O’Neill provides oversight of the state’s child protection services, as well as “holding systems accountable,” according to the state website.
But with a small office currently engaged in other cases, she cautioned that the process could take up to a year to complete.
“If what’s reported in the newspapers is correct,” O’Neill said, “it does sound as though this was a preventable death.”
Police say the mother, 20-year-old Midaysia Highwalker, took the baby, Leyla Rivera, after an altercation with the baby’s father.
People nearby say they often hear arguing.
“We hear them argue all the time, mainly just over dumb, stupid stuff,” neighbor Matthew Seal said.
“I have from time to time heard a little bit of screaming and yelling,” Jamie Jack, family member of a neighbor, said.
Police say the situation then escalated.
“The female, mother of the child, took the baby, indicated that she might harm herself and the baby,” MSgt. Gary Knight with Oklahoma City Police said.
According to the arrest warrant for Highwalker, the baby’s father called his mother saying he needed help removing the baby from the apartment. He said Highwalker had people over at the residence, and Midaysia was smoking marijuana around the child. The warrant goes on to say, “Midaysia forcefully took the child from [the father], grabbing the small infant by her head. Midaysia proceeded to strike [the father’s] head repeatedly and threw various items at him. Midaysia grabbed a black carjack from the front of the residence and forcefully struck [the father] in the back of his head, causing injury.”
The warrant says Midaysia said she was going to kill the baby’s father and his mother and left the residence with the baby.
That sparked an Amber Alert Thursday morning.
However, Highwalker’s sister, who did not want her name disclosed, says that’s unlike her. “She might’ve said something to get him away from her, but she wouldn’t make threats and she wouldn’t go through with her threats,” she said.
Police searched for Highwalker and the baby. Both were found safe at a friend’s home in Midwest City.
“The mother’s in custody, we’ll interview her and see what came of the domestic,” Knight said.
According to Highwalker’s sister and cousin, there’s more to the story.
“Her boyfriend, he’s been putting his hands on her a long time now, and I feel like she did it just to get away from him, and his mom threatens her, tries to fight her, and they used the baby against her and so she just ran to get away,” her sister said.
“My cousin is a really good mom, and she don’t deserve to be locked up. Her baby daddy has been abusive their whole relationship,” Precious Hopgood, Highwalker’s cousin said.
Highwalker has been booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on complaints of domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, child neglect, domestic abuse in the presence of a minor, threatening to perform an act of violence, embezzlement and destroying property.
Major Pro-Life Victory: Supreme Court upholds Texas law stopping abortions
A baby’s heartbeat can be detected by transvaginal ultrasound as early as 3 to 4 weeks after conception, or 5 to 6 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period. This early embryonic heartbeat is fast, often about 160-180 beats per minutes, twice as fast as us adults’!
The United States Supreme Court has ruled on a life-giving decision that will potentially save thousands of unborn babies in Texas.
By a 5-4 vote, the Court said Texas’ law prohibiting abortions once a medical professional detects a heartbeat will stand. Read the full story from American Family News here.
Advocates for killing babies had filed an emergency appeal asking the Court to block enforcement of the law that went into effect yesterday. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the liberal members of the Court to keep abortions going in Texas.
The law, SB8, was passed by the Texas legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 19.
This is a huge day for the pro-life movement and I ask you to join me in thanking God for this wonderful victory.
Sincerely, Tim Wildmon, President American Family Association
Former Lubbock dentist Jason White now charged with 16 counts related to child pornography
LUBBOCK, TX – Former Lubbock dentist Jason White is federally indicted on 16 counts relating to child pornography and enticement of a minor. He was previously indicted on three counts.
A federal magistrate signed a superseding indictment on Wednesday afternoon for former Lubbock dentist accused of producing child pornography and the enticement of minors.
The new indictment accuses him of nine counts of production of child pornography, one count of transportation of child pornography and six counts of enticement and attempted enticement of a minor. The previous indictment was for three counts: production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, and enticement of a minor.
The new indictment shows the charges against White. It indicates the enticement of minors may have begun in 2004 and continued through 2020, and the production of child pornography began in 2009 and continued through 2020.
The indictment identifies at least seven alleged victims while, according to court documents, as many as 15 juveniles were interviewed.
Eight counts of the production of child pornography are centered around John Doe 15 – which started in 2009 and continued through 2010.
Included in the documents is a forfeiture notice. bIf convicted, White will forfeit to the United States of America any visual depictions described in the federal documents. It also includes any digital media seized by law enforcement, a house located in the 4400 block of 10th Street in Lubbock and the approximately 966-acre ranch located near Garza County, also known as the Drop Tine Draw Ranch.
On Jan. 14, 2021, FBI and Homeland Security agents, along with Lubbock Police, raided White’s dental office and home, removing items from the building and his vehicle. During the raid, White was arrested and booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Then on Jan. 20, 2021, new state charges were filed against White. The warrant for the state he has been charged with sexual performance by a child. These charges stem from the same allegations that brought on the federal charges. A bond for the state charges was set at $150,000. White’s attorney posted the bond, but because White was on a federal hold at the county jail, he was not released.
On Jan. 21, 2021, a civil lawsuit was filed against Jason White, accusing White of sexually assaulting a minor. The plaintiff’s attorney, Kevin Glasheen, says Dr. White “apparently has a porn business,” which they have alleged in the lawsuit. “He’s offered money to minor children for them to produce pornography. He’s touched children inappropriately. And this is apparently, according to the evidence that we’ve discovered, has been going on a long time and is widespread conduct that involves a lot of other people,” Glasheen said in a news conference in January.
They are suing White for at least $10 million.
The civil suit may not be resolved for a year and a half, because of the federal and state cases against White.
In the federal and state court documents, both complaints make mention of other adult males who may be involved in the sharing of child pornography with White.
During a news conference with Glasheen, he said, “We do have some idea, and it does, potentially, involve some very prominent people. And I will say that because it is such a strong accusation and allegation that, you know, we’re not prepared to name those people at this time. I’d like to go through the discovery process in the civil case, that means taking depositions of obtaining documents, and then we’ll see what kind of evidence the law enforcement authorities have. Once Dr. White is indicted and the law enforcement authorities, the prosecutors, will have to hand over their evidence to him. That’s called Brady material, where defendants are allowed to see what the law enforcement has in a criminal case – criminal discovery they call it – and he’ll get that material and then we will get it from him. We’re entitled to get that information from Dr. White. So we’ll have all the federal evidence at that point. Until then, we can attempt to take deposition testimony from both Dr. White and his partners. I expect him to plead the fifth. It will be interesting to see who else pleads the fifth as we move along through our process of taking issuing subpoenas and setting up depositions.”
In March 2020, a judge granted a motion to push the date of the child pornography trial of former Lubbock dentist Jason White, declaring the case complex after prosecutors stated more possible victims have come forward. Jason White’s trial is reset to November 1, at 9 a.m. in the United States District Court.