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Special Report: Asher's Story - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Special Report: Asher's Story

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SOUTHEAST TEXAS -

Each year more than 1200 children living in Jefferson County are victims of abuse and/or neglect.  CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, has 90 trained advocates and many more volunteers.  They are there to help those children through the court system and to be the voice the children don't often have.

Some of those stories don't have happy endings but 12News found one that does.

About three years ago, there was a very real possibility that Asher Badgett would not be able to run and play like he does today; that if he hadn't been taken out of the abusive situation he was in, he could have ended up with severe brain injury like baby Faith Mason; or even lost his life. But luckily, that is not the case.

Jamie Hogge is a CASA volunteer.  She received Asher's case in December in 2010.

She explains the call she got saying, "Five o'clock in the morning, the phone rang and it was the DA's office calling to say that they just received one of the worst child abuse cases that ever seen. An eight-week-old boy with 29 broken bones."

That phone call rang the change that would take place in Asher's life, but he had a lot of healing to do first.

Hogge said, "He arrived in the ER, nurses and doctors actually called him the broken baby because, how can you have 29 broken bones and have that not be significant."

At only eight-weeks-old, that averages out to be over three broken bones a week in his short life.

Hogge explains Asher's injuries.

"He had 23 broken ribs, three spinal compression fractures, a crack in one of his arms and he had two breaks in his left femur, the most significant being the fracture that broke his femur completely in half," said Hogge.

Hogge said the four days Asher spent in the hospital were just the beginning of the healing process.

"Because he didn't sustain any life-threatening injuries he was able to leave after a few days but he had multiple physician follow-up visits in Houston. He had a body splint because of his broken femur he had. His bones were broken, but his brains were okay. And that's a big difference between Asher and Faith," said Hogge.

During the investigation into Asher's abuse, he was placed in foster care.

His grandfather, Gene Badgett said, "that was one of the hardest things because I was locked out for five months of even seeing him because I had been around him, so naturally I was suspected like anybody else."

Hogge said justice was served in Asher's case and with support of the adults that now surround him, including his grandfather, this resilient little boy bounced back.

Badgett explained the support when he said, "Jamie Hogge and CASA have been a big part of his life and he had a wonderful foster mother during those five months.

Hogge added, "He had CPS workers fighting for him, and me, and his grandfather and I were able to agree."

That agreement was on what was best for Asher and that was for Gene Badgett to adopt his grandson.

"It was a long hard situation to go through but I'm glad I did it. And a lot of paperwork involved a lot of jumping through hoops," said Badgett.

Hogge said this situation is very rare.

"I've been with Casa 10 years and Gene is the first blood relative of any of my casa kids I've ever felt good about, and it's a perfect ending to what started out as a tragic story," said Hogge.

If you met Asher today, if you didn't know his story, you would never guess how much he's overcome

Badgett said, "You don't really have to teach him, you guide him and then you kinda get out-of-the-way. That's the kind of child that he is."

Hogge said , "He Is very lucky. Asher Rain Badgett is healthy and active and smart. Oh, he's so smart and he's perfect. He is a perfect happy ending."

Hogge said Asher's abuser is currently serving a prison term for the abuse.

Asher will soon celebrate his 3rd birthday.

If you would like to help other children like Asher have a happy ending, you may want to consider being a CASA volunteer. Click on this link to find out more: http://http://casasetx.org/

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