Update on the Four N.J. Starved Brothers: Why is Bruce Jackson Being Kept from Seeing His Brothers?

Oprah said on the show that Bruce Jackson sent his love to the three boys who were his brothers in that awful house of starvation and want in New Jersey. But that was the first time that the brothers and their adoptive parents may have heard from Bruce–understandably from a third- or fourth-party–in four years. There has been something consistently wrong with this picture. Ever since the trial, he has hardly been seen or heard about, not just by the media, but by his brothers. Why? This is the story behind the story on Oprah this week that I have found below.

He rescued his brothers, now someone needs to rescue Bruce Jackson (Courtesy: Philly.com)

From the Daily Record, dated April 12:

Officials with Disability Rights of New Jersey, part of a nationwide network of watchdog agencies, said they are investigating claims Bruce Jackson’s brothers have not been able to contact him.

Jackson is living at a group home for developmentally disabled children in Gloucester County. The other three boys were adopted by James and Amber Parrish in Millville.

“We’re looking into the allegation that the family wants to have contact with him and he wishes to have contact with them and someone is preventing that from happening,” said Joe Young, executive director of the organization. “We need to actually find out what the facts are.”

Young said the organization has contacted the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Guardianship Services to inquire about Jackson.

“He’s been appointed a state guardian,” Young said. “We’ve started the process, but it doesn’t happen very quickly. This is not your run-of-the-mill situation. Our goal is to determine and respect the wishes of the individual.”

Jackson and his brothers made headlines in 2003 when they were found to be severely underweight.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, in a related story on April 7, said this:

Cut off from his brothers, Bruce, 26, now lives in a state-supervised group home for the developmentally disabled in Gloucester County. Some say he is lonely and feels lost.

“They won’t even let us talk to him,” his brother Terrell Parrish, 16, formerly known as Tyrone Jackson, said last month. “They got him guarded like the president.”

Bruce’s welfare is a well-protected secret. Requests to interview him were rebuffed by Michael Critchley Sr., a West Orange criminal lawyer, who has represented many high-profile clients.

Soon after Bruce was taken from the Jackson home, he was judged incompetent, and Critchley was appointed his legal adviser. Critchley has said in past interviews that Bruce needed placement in a home because he could not live alone and was having difficulties living “a normal existence.” The lawyer has waived his fees, but is reimbursed for his expenses, according to court documents.

A state guardian in the Department of Human Services was given control over day-to-day decisions pertaining to Bruce’s well-being.

In 2005, Bruce received a $5 million out-of-court settlement from the state because its social workers had overlooked his emaciated condition during home visits. His brothers each got $1.8 million in trust funds.

Critchley was quoted at the time as saying Bruce might someday want to use that money to buy a house and hire a staff to look after him. But in recent weeks, when asked why that had not happened, Critchley has cited “privacy issues.”

I’d look into that Critchley fellow. And the state guardian. And the state agency. There is something wrong here. Bruce Jackson does not have an independent life, though he is of age. With two trustworthy attendants, he could lead a normal life, along with continuing therapy, medication and education. He could live around the corner from his brothers, and have contact with them and the Parrishes. And I doubt whether he is that incompetent as they say. He stood up in court and testified. He saved his brothers’ lives.

Is he being penalized for dropping the anvil on New Jersey’s social services?

“He should get what he wants,” his brother TreShawn, a Cumberland County College freshman, said a few weeks ago. “He wants a family. He deserves it after what he did for us.”

That day, TreShawn, Michael, and their adoptive father, James Parrish, had spoken briefly to Bruce on the phone. But before Terrell got his turn, a resident adviser got on the line and said Bruce was not permitted to talk with them, Parrish said.

Over the years, Parrish said, the boys have had only a handful of phone conversations with Bruce.

“He’s lonely, and when he calls, he asks if we forgot about him,” Parrish said. “He needs to see his family.”

Time and again, authorities and attendants cut off phone calls, deny or shorten visits, and wave the family away from the young man. Why? I think that the more he is allowed in a normal environment, the more he will be able to deal and interact effectively on his own, among the people who love him.

Could it be that it’s Bruce’s $5 million payday that is the real football here? The attorney for Bruce Jackson, Michael Critchley Sr., handles criminal cases. Criminal cases? Of course, Critchley’s waived his fees, but not his expenses. And that guardian ad litem? Someone unnamed in the Department of Health and Human Services. Weird. Nothing here makes any sense at all.

The last time Bruce visited was in October 2006, but TreShawn was then living in an adoptive home in Texas. The Parrishes have since adopted TreShawn. That fall, Bruce attended Terrell and Michael’s football game, with chaperones. Afterward, the three brothers embraced and caught up, Parrish said. “They were happy to see each other.

Bruce did not act “out of the ordinary” in any way, Parrish said, but he did become upset when the chaperones ruled out plans to go back to the house for pizza.

” ‘If you act like this, you won’t be able to go anywhere,’ ” a chaperone told him, according to Parrish.

Bruce obediently got into the van, Parrish said. It was the last time Parrish saw him.

Jeez. He wants to be with his brothers. This is all kinds of wrong. He’s a young man who barely had a childhood with the Jacksons, and hardly any social interactions with anyone else. He cannot help being childish in this respect. He needs to grow up and enhance his abilities. And not be penalized or forgotten, and left to moulder in a group home.

Save Bruce Jackson. Please.

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~ by blksista on May 8, 2010.

19 Responses to “Update on the Four N.J. Starved Brothers: Why is Bruce Jackson Being Kept from Seeing His Brothers?”

  1. My heart and soul are crying out for Bruce, I live in Australia and have only just seen the Oprah show today on the boys. I too was shocked that Bruce wasnt there (why not?) and the statement at the end that Bruce sends his love is a cop out. Something is terribly wrong that Bruce is not allowed any contact with anybody. Wish I could contact the Parrishes to see if they could start a plea for Bruces release – maybe into their custody?
    Those legal boys will suck every penny that Bruce was given and then where will he be when that happens? I dread to think. Please …someone must help Bruce reunite with his brothers and to be able to live his life with love and affection. God bless. Id let him live with my son and I if i could get him out to Australia?


  2. I have found a facebook page for Bruce Jackson


  3. Can someone start a facebook page Friends of Bruce to get the situation more visibility?! You could start an on=line petition to get him more access to his family. Are they even in the same zip code? Why aren’t the Parrishes looking our for him? Asking questions? Odd isn’t it? Something is not adding up!!!
    Oprah needs to champion his cause. If not her, someone else then?
    Don’t think you cannot have an impact. Things get done from the grassroots up! (I live in Canada and will keep an eye out for good news!) Bless you all for caring so much! Wishing you all good karma!


  4. I was appalled when I saw Oprah’s show so started to research the facts behind Bruce’s disappearance from his brothers. Sadly, it appears Bruce has had many obstacles in his life. At the time Bruce was rescued, he was an adult and therefore not eligible to be adopted like his brothers and why he was separated from them. Bruce is disabled and because he did not have an adult family member to care for him, Bruce became a ward of the court so to speak. Bruce was placed into a 24-hour resident care facility pretty much upon his rescue because he was an adult and unable to care for himself. Therefore, his tiny settlement (which in my opinion should have been substantially more rather than a drop in the bucket because of what he and his brothers endured at the hands of that pond scum) is not the reason Bruce is living where he is but rather because Bruce was found incompetent and will never be able to make his own decision(s) of where to live, etc. I would like to think his conservator and attorney are keeping his whereabouts out of the public eye so he isn’t bothered and harassed. This was a nationally publicized case, people are interested but he shouldn’t be hounded either. As long as Bruce is determined to be incompetent, he will always have someone making decisions for him. Best case would be for an adult brother to challenge the conservatorship so he could make decisions for Bruce. Do you remember the movie Rainman? Bruce is in a similar situation. As for his brothers not being able to see him, I have no idea and believe the only way to describe that situation is cruel and unusual treatment. Hasn’t this man and his brothers suffered enough? They all should be able to see each other whenever he or they want without interference from anyone, including his attorney, conservator and court.


  5. Man I just watched Oprah tonight and sitting here tearing up over how cruel people can be to children. And then they revealed what Bruce did. And now it seems he is possibly being abused again, all over. We as a society have failed this kid once, and now are possibly failing him again.

    Why can’t this, now, man make a decision that he wants to be with his brothers or around them? He certainly has the financial means to make that happen. This really pisses me off that Bruce may be out there somewhere, alone and scared…maybe going through similiar abuse as before. I’m not a religious or violent man but Lord help me I would do some harm to anyone taking advantage to someone who’s already undergone such a hard life.

    A lot of people have asked what can we do to help him….exactly, what can we do? I wanna know. If we all told someone about this story and asked them if they knew anyone with a possible ‘connection’ that could help…maybe by word of mouth help would find Bruce?

    I would think that Oprah herself would have the means to do something, no?

    Short of driving out to New Jersey and physically removing Bruce from wherever he is, I don’t know where one would start?

    Write a congressman?

    Write Oprah?

    Someone please help this kid…if I need to take a roadtrip with someone I’d do that!


  6. It saddens me to see how Bruce is being treated. He is exactly the same age as I am and I feel he needs to be with his family. Bruce cares about his brothers and wants to be apart of their live. What can “we” do as a society to help Bruce back into his brothers lives? He may need managed visit and someone to care for him. But come on, to withdraw him from his ONLY family something has to be done. Bruce we love you and pray all the best that things will work in your favor.


  7. After viewing this story on Oprah, I undoubtedly was left with numerous questions. So I was compelled to search the web for more information and what I was able to find leads me back to where it all began… in the court room. if you follow the money, you will find the answer as to why Bruce Jackson is being held “captive” of the state.
    Instead of writing an extended summary of my hypothesis, I will simply provide you with some questions or comments to ponder over.
    1. The Judge: Ruled the person who was responsible for bringing this story to light, as “incompetent”, yet allowed him to testify against adoptive mother then appointed;
    2. Michael Critchley Sr., a West Orange criminal lawyer, who represents high-profile clients as legal guardian of Bruce. After receiving the $5 million dollar settlement, this same lawyer has now cut off all communication with Bruce with the exception of;
    3. William Tambussi, a prominent lawyer who is the court-appointed trustee of Jackson’s $5 million. Like Critchley Sr., he too donates his time in Bruce’s case.
    Tambussi basically is the personal banker/accountant who determines what Bruce can purchase and oversees all assets.

    So, the judge has appointed an independent attorney to control Bruce’s daily activities and another to control his settlement money, instead of State appointed Lawyers where finances can be monitored. Was it to save the taxpayers lawyer fees since both attorneys charged no fees for their work other than “expenses.” When a lawyer does not charge fees means theirs an ulterior motive behind their noble gesture. Perhaps book or movie deal which both lawyers again have total control over.

    Unless someone really reaches out to help Bruce, he will soon be forgotten or even worse, more physical harm inflicted. In the meantime the judge, lawyers and doctors at mental facility will all syphon the $5 million settlement and no one would ever know because Bruce is supposedly “incompetent.” Bruce was competent enough to sneak out of confinement, scourage threw trash for food in order of making sure he and his brothers survived. Now Bruce needs our help in rescuing him….Again.


  8. Where are the doctors that have stated
    Bruce cannot live a normal life with the care and love of his family?
    What can be done to help? To whom do we make our voices heard?


  9. Great article!! Thank You for putting this out there. I did not see the original Oprah show that aired aired, but I am glad I just did. I was watching with a million questions. The first question I had was, “Where is Bruce, what is going on?” Oprah never even touched on where he was (I understand now, from reading your article), and the message she relayed from Bruce to his brothers did not sit well with me. Boy, I did not know all of this was going on. I was an admissions director in a NH, and I know about guardianships. These people are only out for themselves, believe me. I had guardians that were sucking up the money, but they were never involved with the resident. I always had to make numerous calls just to get them in there. Alarm Bells need to be going off in the heads and hearts of everyone who cares about this young man!!! This is a double tragedy for him, and unfair!! What can we do to help him, and get him out of the hands of these selfish vultures!!?????


  10. I hate to say this, but is Bruce being denied contact with his brothers because his brothers and his brothers’ new parents are Christians? Do the people in authority over Bruce not want Bruce to have any spiritual influences? Is that the reason?

    By the way, Bruce’s brothers and his brothers’ new parents the Parrishes seem like they’re real Christians, not just “pretend” Christians, such as Bruce’s former mother Vanessa Jackson probably is.

    By denying Bruce access to the only family he has, the people in authority over him are hurting him, not helping him. I don’t think that they would want anyone to deny them access to their families.


    • I think part of it is that Bruce is–agewise–an adult, while they are still minor children. Another part may be that they are not really related, although they were adopted together by those terrible people.

      I think the adoption agencies gravitate towards those who have a spiritual vocation to helping these children. So religion has little, if any, connection to why the state keeps the boys separate.


  11. This is so sad. Bruce should be free. He has brothers that will help and watch over him. He has funds to buy the care he needs. His brothers should get to be his guardians. Period. That they are not yet adults does not lessen their concern for his welfare. I would trust them with him much more than any government officials. Ridiculous.


  12. My heart is very heavy over this story, I feel like God is not done yet in this situation. I myself is a foster mom i will never ever mistreat a child nor a human being. Bruce save his brothers, he himself needs to love save. Bruce darling you are love by the greatest of them all Jesus. You are also love by many people all over the world. I will pray for you to have your way and be able to be close to your brothers as you wish. That day change you and your brothers life forever, somehow sadness is still there because of the separation. Yes your brothers are in a great place, what about Bruce? God Bless


  13. all i can say is whoever guarding him just imagine if that was you that couldn’t see your family imagine if that was you that lived the life he lived you wouldn’t want to be treated like the way he is being treated family is everything i believe yall don’t want to let him go because you guys want his money but just remember who you got to answer to on judgement day


  14. Ive followed this story for 7 yrs and also was a child of the foster system. Please help Bruce! I know he must be awfully depressed without his siblings.


  15. save Bruce!! What can we do to help


  16. What can be done for him? His life has been sad and totally wrong for far too long. Who can fight for him? I think it’s all about control of the money, who has control of his money now, that the most important question.


    • If they think that he’ll be taken advantage of, I can name the attorney and the state executor. The young man has only purchased two things while he’s been in the home, and one of them was an Xbox or some such.

      I wonder if the Parrishes are up to taking him as well.


  17. Save Bruce Now!!!


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