Jacob Lindorff
- December 14, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial
A short two months after Jacob was adopted by James and Heather Lindorff, this child would be dead. This story begins with children ages nine and seven who would take the stand and in their soft Russian accents, would tell the story of what happened to their brother Jacob. Five children would take the stand in defense of their brother, telling about the abuse he suffered in the home they all lived in. Three girls were adopted from Russia into the Lindorff home early in the year 200 while Jacob and his two brothers were adopted in October of 2001. Both sets of children were from different families.
Speaking from their home, two brothers told of how their Russian father beat ALL of the children in the home, however, Jacob was beaten the worst because, as they said, "he walked funny". The children would be beaten with a horsewhip or a belt, Jacob would be beaten until it made him bleed. James and Heather tried to say that Jacob had suffered an injury to his head when he lived in Russia, this was apparently true, however, they tried to say he died when that old injury began to bleed again after a fall at their home. Jacob was referred to as "the different one" in the Lindorff home.
Testimony from the children included information that Jacob would be in the tub and his biological mother would throw hot water on him and it would leave blisters on his back. This hot water was thrown on the child because he had been playing in the mud outside, she would then slam his head on the floor leaving a bump on the back of his head:

"She would try to choke him or drown him"
Nine year old brother to jurrors

Three years prior to their being adopted by Lindorff's, they three boys had been sent to an orphanage where they were beaten almost every day with a teachers pointer. Children were forced to put a thorn studded weed down their pants and walk around a tree for hours, one of the children testified that he remembered it would burn them. Jacob was picked on by the other children in the orphanage, they would kick and slap him and hang  him upside down from the exercise bar, swinging him until he fell and hit his head on the concrete below.

A seven year old brother testified that another child at the orphanage had hit Jacob in the head with what he described as a "metal thing":

"He fell on a rock and the boys started piling on him and beating him up"

Each of the five siblings gave accounts of what was going on in the home, they would often all tell the same story using the same words, though they smiled at their mother and looked to her for support as they testified.

James Lindorff was charged with child abuse while Heather Lindorff was charged with aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Each child was testifying in the court room without the others being present, this was to prevent them from hearing what their siblings were saying.

The children said that Heather had never beaten any of them and punishment for bad behavior would be time out or standing and facing the wall:

"They talked to us and they put us on the wall"
Nine year old sibling

Each of the five siblings said that Jacob had always had trouble walking, three said he walked like a penguin and two said he wobbled. Jacob was said to throw a fit when he didn't get his way and he would throw himself down onto the floor or the ground. During testimony, none of the children seemed to say anything bad about their parents. When asked by Heather's Lawyer, Stephen Patrick, what they thought would happen if they lied in court, the children answered that their mother would go to jail.

In December of 2003, Heather G. Lindorff, who was 39 years old, was convicted of lesser charges in the death of Jacob. Heather was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a a child which is a second degree crime which carried a sentence of only a ten year maximum prison sentence.

James Lindorff was convicted of child abuse which is a less serious charge. James was charged for failing to get medical help for Jacob. It came out in court that Jacob had died of blunt force trauma and that Heather had burned and beaten him so badly that she was the one to deliver the hit that killed him. Mary Pyffer, who was the Senior Assistant Prosecutor said that the she was happy with the partial conviction and added that this had been a very difficult case to try:

"I think there was enough evidence of abuse and neglect in
this child. No jurrors could see the autopsy pictures of this
little boy without questioning her guilt"

The jury had acquitted Heather of second degree aggravated assault. Stephen Patrick said he was actually surprised by the guilty verdict because the Prosecution had not presented any evidence that Heather had beaten or burned Jacob:

"I really thought that once we got two not guiltys, we would get three.
They never produced an eyewitness who ever said that she did any
of this stuff intentionally"

I have to ask Defense Attorney Stephen Patrick, how do you ACCIDENTALLY beat and burn a child? If he's saying Heather didn't do this on purpose, there must be some way she could have accidentally done it. It sounds to me like these children were afraid of their parents from the beginning and were not willing to say very much in court for fear of what would happen to them. I have to wonder why they were not allowed to testify over closed circuit television and not have to face their parents in the court room.

A sentence recommendation of the maximum sentence was entered into court by Prosecutor Sean Dalton. James Lindorff was 54 and facing up to 18 months, that's 18 WHOLE months in case you were wondering. This ridiculous sentence was only because he had no criminal record. It doesn't seem to matter that his first criminal act was to aid in the killing of an innocent child.

The guilty verdicts came after three weeks of testimony, some referred to as "warmhearted", which was the opposite of what first responders had said about the injuries that included blisters that were peeling and second degree burns on top of Jacobs feet. The Medical Examiner, Gerald Feiguin, said that Jacob died of blunt force trauma and said he believed that all of the injuries to his body were less than six weeks old. It seems that from day one, Jacob had been being abused by these monsters.

The Defense had repeated stated that Jacob's biological parents and the children at the orphanage had been the ones to abuse him, repeating that Jacob died when an old injury started to bleed again after an accident at home. A jurror who did not want to be identified said that the prosecution had not proven Heather to be guilty for the blow that killed Jacob:

"He may have had a re-bleed from a simple sneeze. I know someone
who got a hernia from a sneeze"

Well, unidentified juror, you're wrong. Jacob's siblings told you what happened to him in that home. Jacob was beaten until he was bleeding. Do you know what a horsewhip is? If not, look it up and then pray to God to forgive you for letting a killer basically go free. I don't care if you know a hundred people who got a hernia from sneezing, what happened to them had NOTHING to do with this child and should not have even been thought about during the trial.

This juror voted for a conviction of endangering the welfare of a child because she didn't believe the story of how Jacob had burned his feet. Heather had said that Jacob stepped into a hot tub and had been burned, the juror said that the burns looked more like they had been made with an iron:

"If mom's home and she's home 24-7 and something goes wrong in the
house, she should know exactly what happened"

So, you think she LIED about how he got burned, but you don't believe she would kill him? Sorry, you're a special kind of stupid in my opinion. You used information about what happened to your friend and ignored the fact that Heather lied about how her son was burned, but you found her not guilty of killing him. Sorry, you have no respect from me or any other child abuse advocate.

Director of Open Door Adoption Agency Inc., Walter Gilbert, said he was stunned by the verdict, he said that he felt Heather was a nurturing mother who was being punished for her role in trying to "save" six children from an abusive situation they had been living in while residing in Russia. OH MY GOD! Is he kidding me? He can't see from the testimony of those siblings that she was a monster? What is going on in this world when people close their eyes to the abuse and deaths of children for God only knows WHAT reasons they can come up with. I could see Mr Gilbert wanting no part of the blame for placing these children in an abusive home, I would say, in my opinion, that's why he is so stunned, he wants no blame coming back to him because he "thought she was a nurturing mother":

"The woman is as innocent as your and I. This jury and this Prosecutor
have made a terrible mistake and it is an injustice to the rest of the
children in this family"

Mr Gilbert, you sir, should have your head examined. How could you see autopsy pictures of the injuries to this child and say this woman is innocent in ANY way in the death of Jacob? How could not see the INJUSTICE done to him when James and Heather were not BOTH sentenced to life without parole?

Heather was reported to have cried during the trial, though she and James were said to have shown very little emotion after the verdicts had been read. Their oldest daughter, Jessica, who was 19, put her hand over her eyes and was said to have shaken her head, not believing that her parents were found guilty. How could this 19 year old woman watch as her siblings were beaten and just do nothing about it? Shame on her!!

When leaving the courtroom, the family said nothing other than Heather saying to the reporters:

"Have a nice holiday"

Jessica remained in the home of her parents while the other siblings, ages seven to 13 lived with Heather's mother since shortly after Jacob's death, the grandmother had been granted custody of the four siblings. If by chance James or Heather would seek to regain custody of the children, the state Division Of Youth And Family Services would step in:

"Typically in a case where parents are convicted of child abuse or
neglect that leads to a child death, DYFS would aggressively advocate
for the termination of parental rights"
DYFS Agency Spokesman - Edward Rogan

Stephen Patrick said he was going to ask for a new trial based in part on the decision to drop the fourth degree child abuse charge against Heahter, which was done midway through the trial at the request of the Prosecution. At the time, Mary Pyffer said that the child endangerment charge would cover the child abuse charge. Stephen Patrick said that the state was only trying to prevent the jury from convicting Heather of a lesser charge. Mary Pyffer stated that the Appellate Division of Superior Court would not listen to Stephen Patrick's accusations surrounding the dismissal of the child abuse charge.

James Lindorff was 54 years old when, for his part in killing Jacob, he was sentenced to four years probation and 400 hours of community service for the crime of child abuse.

Heather Lindorff was 36 years old when she was found guilty of second degree endangering, aggravated assault. For killing Jacob, Heather was sentenced to six years in prison. She had claimed everything was an accident and begged the Judge to allow her to be with her family. In May of 2004, Heather was released on appeal bond and was court ordered to not be near her children with supervision. Also in May, DYFS found out that the children had been living with James and Heather again. Each child was given a medical examination and found to be malnourished, abused and neglected.

In September of 2007, James  Lindorff and Heather's mother Mildred Cullinan were charged with a murder for hire plot when they wanted to kill a witness from the trial. On August 7, 2008, James was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of seven years with a minimum term of five years, 11 months and 12 days, making him eligible for parole in April of 2014.

Mildren Cullinan pled down to a charge of hindering an investigation for which she received a term of 90 days in jail.

Heather was released from prison in November of 2009. In December of 2009, Heather, 45 by this time, petitioned the State Appellate Court to regain custody of two of her children, it had only been a month since her release from prison. Heather had stated that an appeal she filed last December stating that a fact finding hearing was not conducted and that meant there had been a due process violation. The Appellate Panel said that Heather had voluntarily given up her parental rights to the children knowing full well that the foster parents they had been placed with would adopt them.

Having given up her rights, the Appellate Court would not be able to reverse that decision.

I have to say that I am in more than shock over this story. A child is dead two months after entering this country, being legally adopted by two child abusers. The abuse Jacob suffered ultimately lead to his death and the father serves ZERO days in prison and the mother is out in very little time.

Sadly, I am unable to find a picture of this little Angel who suffered terrible for what seems like his entire life.

I want to thank Rob from the bottom of my heart for sending me this story. I often say this site is a world wide effort, people all over the world are building it by sending me stories and updates. I could never do this all by myself and I can't thank those who are willing to help me, enough. God bless you all!
This page was created on October 28, 2014
Death occurred in the state of New Jersey

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