A Texas stepmother was sentenced for 28 years in prison after a jury found her guilty last week of causing serious bodily injury to her stepson whom she hid inside a crawlspace the family called the “Harry Potter Room,” PEOPLE confirms.
In 2014, police discovered the 5-year-old boy inside an unfinished crawlspace inside a closet where he was deprived of food and forced to sleep on a concrete floor.
He weighed 29 lbs. at the time.
“He looked terrible. He looked near death. He looked starved. He looked like a Holocaust victim,” Stephen Driver, assistant district attorney for Harris County, tells PEOPLE. “It was awful.”
The boy was extremely malnourished and sometimes given a slice of bread, which was taken away from him if he took too long to eat, officials said in a statement.
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The boy’s stepmother, 38-year-old Tammi Bleimeyer, learned her fate on Monday after Driver told jurors “to make their sentence mean something.”
In Texas, she will not be eligible for parole until she has served half of her sentence.
Driver requested Bleimeyer remain in prison long enough so that her youngest child would be at least 18 years old by the time she was eligible for release.
A call to her attorney was not immediately returned.
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Bleimeyer lived in Spring with husband Bradley Bleimeyer, six biological children and her stepson. At the time of her arrest, she was pregnant with her seventh child, who is now 4 years old.
In 2016, Bradley, 29, pleaded guilty to injury of a child and was sentenced to 15 years, according to court records.
Driver says Tammi’s stepson is now in the care of his biological mother and “doing very well.”
“Anytime I see a child harmed, especially as profoundly as this child, I want to ensure that justice is done,” he says, “and no other children will be harmed at the hands of the perpetrator. “
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