The mother and grandmother of Joseph Wayne Graham say they are thankful for all the support they have received since the boy was killed earlier this month and have set up a memorial fund if anyone wants to help them deal with funeral expenses.
Erin Bessey-Laubach and Kathleen Bessey, Josephs mother and grandmother, made their first public comments about the death of the boy Monday when they released a statement through Mountain Home Police.
We would like to thank the community of the Treasure Valley and beyond for the love and support that has been overflowing for our Joey. We know that he is resting in the arms of the Lord, the women said in the statement. We ask that the family be given the time to grieve and for privacy during this difficult time. Thank you again from the depths of our hearts.
The women also thanked the Mountain Home Police, Idaho State Police, and the Mountain Home Air Force Base for their support.
Richard Laubach, Josephs step-father, is charged with first degree murder and is being held in the Elmore County Jail on no bond. His next court appearance is set for May 1.
Mountain Home police and Elmore County prosecutors say Laubach is responsible for fatal injuries suffered by the 22-month-old Joseph earlier this month including a broken leg and a fractured skull.
Prosecutors also say the death of Joseph Graham March 13 isnt the first time Richard Ryan Laubach hurt his stepson.
Mountain Home police cited Laubach in September on a misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and injury to child. The child victim in that case was Joseph Wayne Graham, prosecutors say.
Those charges were dropped by Mountain Home City Prosecutor Phillip Miller in December after Miller said Laubach provided proof he completed an anger management program, a parenting program, a family safety seminar, and two sessions of marital counseling, according to court records.
Ada County Coroners office officials say Joseph died from abusive head injuries at a Boise-area hospital March 13.
Laubach, a Mountain Home Airman, was originally charged March 12 with felony injury to child in connection with the death of Joseph Graham but Elmore County prosecutors changed that to first degree murder before Laubach made his first court appearance March 14.
Mountain Home police have released little information on murder case. All they will say is they were called to an undisclosed Mountain Home residence by paramedics just before 3:30 p.m. March 12 who had concerns about the injuries suffered by the boy, who was unresponsive.
Paramedics took the boy to Saint Lukes Boise Medical Center for treatment, where he died March 13.
In addition to the broken bones, Joseph Graham also had significant bruising on his body and brain swelling, according to Ada County prosecutor reports.
The boys family has set up an account at U.S. Bank, Jo Jos memorial fund, if anyone wants to make a contribution.