Horrible Parents

Parents of Formerly Conjoined Twins Accused of Abusing One of Them

Abusing any child is sickening to me, but a special needs child who has overcome SO much is unforgivable.

FoxNews is reporting that a Minnesota couple has been accused of abusing one of their two conjoined twins who underwent separation surgery last fall at the Mayo Clinic.

Valerie J. James, 20, and Robert L. Heck III, 27, of Mankato were charged with one count each of felony first-degree assault and aiding and abetting the alleged crime on the 4-month-old, said police Lt. Dan Muyres.

Rochester, Minn., police were scheduled to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Reached at home Wednesday, Heck denied the allegations but said he would not comment further until he spoke with his attorney.

James gave birth to the boys — named Jacob and Jordan — in November. Joined face-to-face at the abdomen, they immediately underwent successful separation surgery.

It wasn’t immediately clear which child was injured. One of the boys had remained in the hospital after the other boy was released Jan. 3 to his parents, who had been staying at a Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

Blue Earth County has filed petitions against James and Heck in an effort to end their parental rights for the twins and an older daughter of the couple.

According to a criminal complaint, that boy was returned to Mayo Eugenio Litta Children’s Hospital Jan. 11 because of some swelling.

Doctors found eight fractures of the boy’s legs and 16 rib fractures. The complaint said some injuries appeared to have begun healing, while others were newer.

Doctors did a test to see if the boy had a genetic disorder that could cause his bones to be more susceptible to breaking, but the test came back negative, according to the criminal complaint. Muyres said a doctor told police it would take a large amount of force to inflict the injuries because of the flexibility of infants’ limbs.

The complaint said a former girlfriend had obtained an order of protection against Heck in 2004 after she accused him of hurting her three children. The ex-girlfriend said her 3-year-old reported being struck by Heck; that her 18-month-old son suffered a broken leg and head bruises while in his care; and that her 3-month-old had burns on her fingers that doctors attributed to cigarettes.

It is a sad day when someone feels the need to hurt a tiny helpless infant who does not have any concept of anything negative.


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of GrowingYourBaby.com and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • Oh this absolutely makes me sick! I get so angry when I hear things like this and it breaks my heart. I don’t know how anyone could hurt a baby or a child. It is just sickening. We have had two babies in Guelph recently die from shaken baby syndrome. Something needs to be done about all of this abuse that goes on.

    I do know that abuse of special needs is something that happens a lot. You know, every time that I take Ashton to a certain doctor the nurse checks him up and down. At first I was a little upset that she would think that I would do something but then I realized that she just cares. ALL doctors should do this whenever they see a child. If more people did what this nurse does then I believe abusers would be caught more!

    I just don’t know how these people can live with themselves after what they do! I sure hope that these children are taken away from the parents and placed with someone that will love them!

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