Caretakers Accused of Abusing Autistic Man

The mother of a severely autistic man gave an emotional testimony Thursday at a hearing in Vista for two caregivers accused of abusing her son.

Police say 50-year-old Michael Garritson and 27-year-old Matthew McDuffie were supposed to be caring for 23-year-old Jamie Oakley, a man with severe autism who can't verbally communicate, has to wear a diaper and tends to injure himself when he's distressed.

Kim Oakley said the caregivers were well aware of the fact that a camera was in her son's room and that she installed a motion operated camera before going on an overseas trip that spanned several weeks.

When she returned, she says she was shocked with what she saw in the video and that she watched the clips over and over again to make sure she what she was seeing was real.

The prosecutor showed several of the clips in court Thursday -- first playing them, then asking Oakley to describe what she saw.

Oakley says the video shows both McDuffy and Garritson kneeing and hitting him, twisting his arms, and poking him in the eye to the point where it became infected.

Investigators say they captured more than 2,000 images of abuse.

"I wanted to feel the pain," Oakley said of the images, which she watched repeatedly. "I wanted to see them over and over again to make sure what I was seeing was real because it's actually so shocking."

A judge has yet to decide if enough evidence was presented for the defendants to stand trial. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty to their charges. 

Contact Us