A case of child abuse is reported once every ten seconds in the United States.
Each year, an estimated 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies, and the number of daily fatalities caused by child abuse in the U.S. ranges from four to seven. Some cases are never reported because the children are too young to know what's going on or are otherwise unable to come forward.
Lucky for six-year-old Giovanni Eastwood, he was saved just before he became another child abuse statistic.
When police discovered Giovanni “Govi” Eastwood abandoned in the attic of his mother’s home, the skeleton-thin boy weighed just over 18 pounds.
The boy, who suffers from Down syndrome, hadn’t eaten in days and had cuts and bruises all over his body. It appeared that he had never been potty-trained, as he was covered in urine and feces.
Before Govi was found, his mother was arrested for outstanding warrants and his sisters were sent to live with his grandmother. Govi’s whereabouts were a mystery.
Some speculated that he was living with his father, but when that turned out to be nothing more than a rumor, the police went back to his mother's home and began calling out for him. After locating him, they took him to a local hospital, where he spent a few days recovering.
Govi’s mother, Rachel Perez, was sentenced to eight years in prison for child abuse.
After living with a foster family that heard Govi's story and reached out, he and his sisters were adopted by their great aunt and uncle, Stacy and Joe Eastwood, in 2012. Govi's health has been steadily improving over time.
More than six years have passed since Govi was discovered in his mother’s attic. He has undergone intensive therapy and is now just another normal kid.
Currently weighing in at just over 100 pounds, Govi loves showing off his skills on the wrestling mat.
When he’s not wrestling, he can be found enjoying his many other hobbies, including swimming, fishing, and exercising.
He was recently made an honorary deputy sheriff after reuniting with the police officers that rescued him years ago.
There's no doubt about it -- Govi is definitely a fighter.
(via Daily Mail)