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Scientology Crime Syndicate

4 Nov 2000

Wonder Valley boys' poor health detailed


A doctor says the brothers were suffering from the effects of profound abuse and stress.

By Guy McCarthy
The (Riverside) Press-Enterprise
JOSHUA TREE

When police asked John Davis about the size and weight of his sons in mid-October, Davis said they were about the same size he was at their age.

Authorities said Tuesday that his 17-year-old son weighed 73 pounds after he was taken from the Davis home last month.

Davis' 12-year-old son weighed 58 pounds, police and other officials said, citing an evaluation of the boys by Dr. Claire Sheridan of Loma Linda University Medical Center. The boys, Yahweh, 17, and Angel, 12, have been in the care of Child Protective Services since authorities removed them from their San Bernardino County home on Oct. 14.

In addition to being malnourished, the boys suffered from a condition caused by stress and profound abuse called "psychological dwarfism," Sheridan's report said.

Psychological dwarfism is similar to another condition known as "failure to thrive," in that a child's growth is stunted and is usually accompanied by other developmental delays. Psychological dwarfism is caused by severe childhood neglect.

John and Carrie Davis and another woman, Faye Potts, are charged with torturing the two boys and a third boy who died in 1991. Defense attorneys entered not-guilty pleas for all three defendants in a court hearing Tuesday in Joshua Tree.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Yahweh and Angel want to change their names to Jerry and Mike, respectively.

The boys told police they were held captive by their parents and Potts for "virtually all their life," police said in an affidavit seeking a search warrant for the Davises' home in Wonder Valley.

Police found the boys dirty and hungry on Oct. 14 after Yahweh called 911 to report he and his brother were chained. Each boy had scars on his back, arms, stomach and chest, consistent with apparent beatings, police said.

When police asked John Davis whether he ever punished his children, he told them he spanked with a "rod of correction."

When they showed John Davis scars on the body of his 17-year-old son, Davis responded, "Ya don't see anything fresh." He then quickly stated that the children must have done it to themselves, police said.

Authorities said a search of the Davises' home on Raymond Drive turned up locks under a mattress in the boys' bedroom, chains, rope, wire and a length of fabric.

They also confiscated a hinged martial arts weapon known as nunchukas; firearms, including a rifle and two handguns; a can containing marijuana and drug paraphernalia; and a bag containing pornographic magazines and videotapes.

Sheridan, a specialist in pediatrics, forensics and child abuse, evaluated the boys at Loma Linda after the Davises and Potts were arrested, investigators said.

Both boys apparently never received medical or dental care, investigators said. Yahweh suffered from chronic bronchitis, and both boys' teeth were in poor condition, Sheridan's report said. Yahweh's back teeth were worn down by grinding, a symptom of great stress, investigators said.

Yahweh's weight was that of an average 10-year-old, Sheridan's report said. His height -- 4 feet, 11 inches -- was normal for a 12-year-old.

Angel's height -- 4 feet, 2 inches -- and his weight were similar to an average 8 -year-old's, Sheridan's report said.

Angel's head appeared oversized because his body was so underdeveloped, Sheridan's report said.

Because the boys' physical development was hindered by stress and abuse, they are more likely to attain normal growth now that "stressors have been removed" or reduced, Sheridan's report said.

Sheridan could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Investigators discussed details of Sheridan's report after the three adults appeared in court Tuesday morning in Joshua Tree.

Prosecutors have evidence that Potts kicked the third child, Rainbow, and John Davis hit the child with a length of board on the day of the child's death.

Yahweh saw his parents burn Rainbow's body in a trash can, said Supervising Deputy District Attorney Linda Root. John Davis told police he also burned the boy's remains in their fireplace and tried to crush the bone remains with rocks.

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