exposing the dark side of adoption
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Boy hospitalized for being undernourished



Today's Sunbeam

A 12-year-old boy, the adopted brother of a 5-year-old who died of a head injury in Franklin Township in 2001, has been hospitalized for being undernourished.

The boy is one of six adopted from Russia by Heather and James Lindorff, who now live in Salem.

Jacob Lindorff, 5, died in December 2001 as the result of blunt force trauma to the head, which prosecutors insisted was the result of child abuse. The child was also found to have had second-degree burns on his feet, hemorrhaging in one eye and bruises on his body, according to prosecutors.

Mrs. Lindorff, 41, was convicted of second-degree endangerment of a child in December 2003 and sentenced in February 2004 to serve six years in state prison. She was released on bail pending an appeal, and is still free on that bail. She was found not guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault.

James Lindorff, 56, was convicted of fourth-degree child abuse and put on probation. He was given probation and ordered to serve 400 hours of community service over a four-year period.

According to sources in a position to know, when the Lindorffs were convicted, custody of four surviving adopted children, now believed to range in age from 10 to 15, was given to Heather Lindorff's mother by court order.

The fifth child is in her 20s.

Since then, DYFS closed the case, but the grandmother, whose name is not known, gave the children back to the Lindorffs.

Within the past few days, the grandmother contacted New Jersey State Police at the Woodstown station, showed her proof of custody and asked police to help get the children back.

Sources said the 12-year-old boy was examined at the Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center for Child Abuse at UMDNJ Stratford and was so malnourished he was immediately sent to Cooper Medical Center in Camden. DYFS immediately removed the remaining children, who may also have been starving, said the sources.

DYFS reportedly closed the case in 2003 after a court order granted custody of the children to Mrs. Lindorff's mother, sources said.

Andy Williams, spokesman for DYFS, said Thursday he could not comment on the case.

First Assistant Salem County Prosecutor William Brennan, contacted Thursday afternoon, said he had no first-hand knowledge of the case or whether charges might be filed against the Lindorffs, but said he would look into the case.

"We are currently cooperating with the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services and police agencies outside Gloucester County and we anticipate filing a motion to revoke Heather Lindorff's bail," said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton.

"The trial and appellate courts previously denied Mrs. Lindorff's request for bail pending appeal. The New Jersey Supreme Court granted her bail and she has apparently violated the conditions of that bail," Dalton said.

Mrs. Lindorff could face five to 10 years in a state prison. Mr. Lindorff's probation was in lieu of 18 months in prison.

2006 Jan 1