An Oklahoma police officer adopted a little boy who he first met during a severe child abuse investigation in 2015. The case affected Poteau Police Officer Jody Thompson so much that he decided to devote his life to keeping John, now 10 years old, safe from harm’s way.

When the initial call came into the Poteau Police Department, Thompson wasn’t on duty at the time, but decided to give assistance to the matter regardless. Before joining the police department 16 years ago, he had handled dozens of child abuse cases while working as an investigator for the district attorney’s office.

“I’ve investigated child abuse cases before,” Thompson told CBS News. “I thought I’d better go ahead and respond.”

When Thompson arrived at the scene, he was shocked to see a severely underweight 8-year-old boy, who had only been 61 pounds, submerged in a trash can that was filled with freezing water. His wrists were bound by belts and every inch of his body was marked with bruises. He endured a strike to the head, a large bump indicated.

“He did not have a spot on his body that didn’t have a bruise or abrasion,” Thompson said. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

Thompson immediately emerged as a protective father figure to John and knew the young boy was meant to be his son.

“When I’d seen him in that house shivering and his hands tied — just soaking wet from confusion — I knew at that moment the only time I would be satisfied and sure that he was safe is if he was with me,” he said.

The police officer took the quick initiative to cover John with a blanket and take him to the Oklahoma Children’s Advocacy Center. Afterward, he drove the child to the emergency room.

“I sat with him,” Thompson said. “And when he was admitted into the intensive care unit, I sat all night until the next day.”

The next day, he contacted the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to become a certified foster parent. Thompson brought John home to become a new member of his family, which already included 15-year-old and 8-year-old sons, on April 30, 2015.

Just two days later, the Thompson family discovered their family was expanding even more when the officer’s wife revealed she was pregnant with another son.

The family received a phone call seven months after having John in their home, informing them that the young boy’s mother had given birth to a girl while serving time in jail. The Thompsons decided to take the baby girl in as well.

“We literally picked her up in the hospital the next day when she was a day old and brought her straight home,” Thompson said. “Never in my life did I dream of having a large family, but God had different plans and so here we are. And I’m loving it all.”

The family was able to formally adopted John in August after the parents, who are both incarcerated, gave up their parental rights. It wasn’t until after a lengthy trial in February that Thompson was able to adopt daughter Paizley, whose parents refused to relinquish their rights.

Now, John is a straight-A student on the honor roll who is a part of the gifted and talented program and participates in his school’s drama club. Thompson describes his son as “amazing” and “resilient.”

On Tuesday, Thompson received a certificate of commendation from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations, with John standing right by his side.

“Jody’s actions as well has his families are second to none. The example of love and compassion he has shown to this young man and his sister is an example everyone should follow,” Poteau Police Chief Stephen Fruen said in a statement. “It’s men like you that make me proud of our law enforcement brothers and sisters. You are very deserving of this commendation. I am proud to serve with you.”

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