Ty Larson is a 15-year-old Utah boy who has barricaded himself in a bedroom for weeks and is live streaming his refusal to go along with a custody order saying he must spend time with his father, Brent Joel Larson, according to Larson’s TikTok videos.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, which first reported the story along with ProPublica, Larson and his sister, Brynlee Larson, 12, are supposed to leave their mother’s home and return to their father’s custody due to an order from Judge Derek P. Pullan.
The newspaper reports that state child welfare investigators determined that the children’s father, Brent Joel Larson, “had sexually abused the children.” The father’s attorney denied those allegations, blaming parental alienation for the custody issues, in a statement to the Tribune. ProPublica reported that a reunification therapist doesn’t believe the abuse occurred, attributing it to parental alienation.
In a January 2023 order, however, the judge said that mother Jessica Zahrt’s “narrative of Brent as an abuser” is “a narrative for which she concedes there is insufficient evidence.”
“Jessica has weaponized the children in a social media campaign aimed at achieving her desired end,” it reads. The court found Zahrt in contempt and wrote that custody of the children should be transferred to Brent Larson pending decision on his petition to modify.
“Jessica has failed to prove that she or the children will suffer immediate or irreparable harm if Brent is awarded custody,” the order reads, noting that this is when the children locked themselves in the room.
“My story…. Why I am barricaded in my room because the police is trying to force me to my abuser’s house,” the TikTok caption on Ty Larson’s first video on the topic says. It has had more than 340,000 views.
You can see links to Ty Larson’s social media accounts, including his Twitch live stream, here. He’s also on Discord, Twitter. He is on TikTok at @stupid_flipper.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. ‘Nobody’s Trying to Keep Us Safe,’ Ty Larson Says in a TikTok Video
@stupid_flipper My story…. Why I am barricaded in my room because the police is trying to force me to my abusers house #help #foryou #mylife ♬ original sound – Stupid Flipper
“I was abused by my father, physically, sexually and emotionally, Ty Larson said in a video, accusing his father of abusing him from age three to 10 and his little sister from age three to seven. As noted, Brent Joel Larson’s lawyer denied the accusations to the Tribune.
In the TikTok video, Ty Larson said he disclosed the accusations at age 10 and was taken away from his father. Larson is almost 16 and has been through court cases for years, he said, adding that he was interviewed by police officers and others.
“It’s been five years and the court case still has not stopped,” he said, adding that the court was “trying to put us through reunification.”
He said reunification only works for young kids. “My own word does not matter, and they don’t believe my truth,” Larson said.
“I’ve been refusing to go to visits.” He said he was barricaded in his room, adding that it was “my own choice for me to stay safe,” adding, “The court system is not trying to save us. No one is trying to keep us safe.”
On February 20, 2023, he posted an update video on TikTok. “I’m still in this room. I’m still barricaded,” he said, adding that he had not “done anything exciting really.”
He said he did not have any new information on the case.
One TikTok video showed Ty Larson with his mom. He said he had a sleepover with his cousin for his mental health.
He has been live streaming 24-7, he said. He said he was trying not to go “stir crazy” and was hanging out with his mom, Jessica Zahrt.
@stupid_flipper Mental health #justicefortyandbrynlee #justicefortyandbryn #helpme #mentalhealth #foryou ♬ original sound – Stupid Flipper
@stupid_flipper I need your help #flipperfam #justicefortyandbrynlee #justicefortyandbryn #tbstrong💙 #tyandbrynsarmy #foryou #mentalhealth ♬ original sound – Stupid Flipper
On February 22, 2023, Ty Larson discussed in a TikTok video seeing a bill for his mom’s legal bills. He said the legal bill was $25,000. “I’m no genius but I know for a fact my stepdad and my mom can’t afford that,” Larson said. He said his mother taught him kindness. He asked for people to help his mother. In that TikTok video, he said he is also live streaming on Twitch.
On January 28, he said in a TikTok video that he had been locked in his room for a week.
2. A Judge Authorized Police to Use ‘Reasonable Force’ to Get Ty & Brynlee Larson Out of the Barricaded Room After Saying the Children Were Being Harmed in the Mother’s Custody, Reports Say
On January 23, 2023, in an order denying mother Jessica Zahrt’s motion for a preliminary injunction, Judge Pullan wrote that Zahrt and Brent Larson separated on January 9, 2012, were divorced in 2012, and were awarded joint legal custody with Zahrt being given sole physically custody.
The parents both received some custody time initially. However, in 2018, Zahrt filed a petition to terminate Larson’s parental rights, accusing him of sexually abusing Ty and, later, his sister too, the judge’s order says.
The judge’s order says that Brent Larson accused Zahrt of having “engaged in a campaign and a course of conduct of falsely accusing [Brent] of abusing the minor children” and that “in furtherance of this campaign, [Jessica had] induced and [was] inducing the minor children to make ‘disclosures’ about allegations of abuse which are false.”
Brent Larson accused Zahrt of having deliberately tried to alienate the children from Brent and destroy their relationships with him, the court document says. Zahrt responded by accusing Larson of abuse, it says.
On June 7, 2021, after three years of litigation in juvenile court, the parties appeared before the assigned juvenile court judge where Zahrt acknowledged that “due to the concerns” expressed in a doctor’s report, “there is likely not sufficient evidence to proceed with her petition to terminate parental rights,” and she moved to dismiss her petition, the order says.
A guardian ad litem and reunification therapist were appointed in the case, it says.
The therapist concluded the children were “too involved in the litigation,” according to the judge’s order.
The children began having virtual, monitored visits with Brent Larson, the order says. The daughter expressed to the therapist that Brent Larson was “nicer than she remembered” and said “it was “time for forgiveness and a new chapter,” the order says.
However, after returning to her mother’s home, the girl said, “My Mom said that I have a big heart, and I was too premature in letting my dad back in. She said that if I took a gift from him, it would be a reminder of the abuse and might make me nervous. The same thing happened at Dr. Money’s office. I got too excited and moved too fast. So, I don’t really want to see him again,” the order says.
Zahrt denied making the statement, but the court found her testimony lacking in credibility.
The girl came to a therapy session in a ski mask, and Zahrt said she was wearing it to hide from her father, the order says.
In February 2022, the children had an in-person home visit with their dad, and the therapist said it went “exceptionally well,” according to the judge’s order.
The therapist said that the children seemed to have a good time with the father but then later questioned the motives of Brent’s family, the order said.
Reunification therapy sessions continued, the order said. A step-up plan was activated to reunify the children with Brent, the order says.
The children would excitedly report that they enjoyed visits but still said they did not want to do them, according to the order.
In July 2022, Zahrt claimed the children were refusing to go for unsupervised parent time with Brent, and said she could not make them go, said the order, which added that a yoga instructor appeared at the failed exchange and removed the children.
In several instances, the court wrote that it did not find testimony from the mother credible.
On Thanksgiving during a visit, the children were aggressive and more hostile than before and locked themselves in the bathroom, the order says.
The court said that Zahrt had dismissed her petition after litigating the issue of abuse for more than three years, testifying she dismissed it when the district attorney had declined to prosecute and because the children would have been required to testify. The judge found “this explanation is neither complete, nor credible,” the order says.
The court found that “after extensive litigation in the juvenile court, Jessica concluded that the abuse allegations against Brent could not be proved.”
The court found Zahrt in contempt for “disrupting the reunification process between the Respondent and the minor children.” Sanctions of five days in jail were ordered. The court granted her motion to temporarily stay the finding of contempt and other requirements.
That’s when the children barricaded themselves in the locked bedroom, the order says.
The court noted that the mother had appeared in TikTok videos and told the guardian ad litem she would “plaster the media” with details of the case. Brent’s first ex-wife appeared in one TikTok, the judge’s order says.
A reunification therapist testified that the children in Zahrt’s care and custody “are experiencing significant harm,” because they are enmeshed with Zahrt.
The evidence presented at trial strongly supports the conclusion that the children are suffering harm in Zahrt’s care, the order says, noting that “TL (a 15-year-old boy) and BL (a 12-year-old) girl have barricaded themselves together in the same bedroom for the past six weeks. During this period, TL has not left the house. BL has left the home only twice. Neither child is attending school. Jessica has imposed no meaningful consequences for this behavior.”
The order alleges that the children “are not permitted to grow as individuals or to have any authentic experience different from the abuse narrative for which Jessica admits there is insufficient evidence.”
It concludes, “The only way to recover the children from this psychological battlefield is to remove the children from Jessica’s care and place them in the custody of Brent, subject to conditions.”
According to the order, the girl “is particularly vulnerable to these pressures. She’s 12-years old. There is no evidence that she has consented to the social media campaign in which TL revels or that she has ever consented to being barricaded in the same bedroom with her brother for six consecutive weeks.”
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the judge has authorized police to use “reasonable force” to get Ty and Brynlee Larson out of the bedroom.
A writ of assistance signed by the judge on December 16, 2023, posted by ProPublica, confirms this.
The court document says the parties are parents of two minor children born in 2007 and 2011.
“On December 5, 2022, this Court granted Jessica Zahrt’s motion for temporary restraining order, staying Commissioner Ito’s recommendation that the children participate in Turning Points and then have a 90-day period of parent-time with Brent Larson uninterrupted by Jessica or her family members,” the court document says.
“The Commissioner also recommended that Jessica be held in contempt of court, imposed a sanction, stayed the sanction and allowed Jessica to purge her contempt by strictly complying with the recommendation.”
The court then granted Jessica’s motion for a temporary restraining order staying the Commissioner’s recommendation and scheduled the motion for a preliminary injunction hearing in January.
The court ordered that, beginning December 9, 2022, Brent Larson would have a “four-week period of make-up parent time.” The parent time did not occur, the documents say.
The court document said that, according to the mother, the children “have locked themselves in their rooms and have refused to leave their home since December 8, 2022, not even attending school.”
The father wanted a writ of assistance compelling the children to participate in the makeup parent time and the private guardian ad litem joined his request, the document says.
The mother opposed the motion saying that “compelling the children to participate in extended overnight parent time will undo the gains of reunification efforts,” the court documents say.
“At this time, the children operate under the false perception that they are in the driver’s seat,” said the order.
The writ of assistance authorized “police officers to pick up the children and place them in the care of (the father) for the four-week make-up parent time period,” it says.
Police officers “are authorized to enter into Jessica’s home, or other place where the children are located, and to use reasonable force necessary to compel compliance, including entry into locked rooms, closets, or enclosures,” it adds.
“If the children run away from the father’s home, the police were authorized to put the children in detention,” it says, noting that the mother said she has “done all in her power to encourage and incentivize the children to participate.”
“The police can come at any moment and take us and use reasonable force to take us,” he said in a TikTok video.
He said he was terrified for his life. “Me and my sister are just trying to get through this,” he said.
According to the Tribune, police “visited the home in December and attempted to remove the siblings but decided not to break down the door despite the father’s request that they do so.”
3. A 2018 Restraining Order Barred Brent Joel Larson From Non-Supervised Contact With the Children
According to the Tribune, in 2018, Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services “found that the father, Brent Joel Larson, had sexually and emotionally abused his children. Investigators categorized the abuse as ‘severe & chronic.'”
ProPublica reported that Ty Larson’s accusations against his father included that at “around age 7 his father put soap and a water gun in his anus while he was in the shower. Around age 8, he said, several times a month his father would come into his room and touch his penis while he was asleep. He said that when he confronted his father about it his father threatened to kill his mom and family if he told them.” Again, Brent Larson denies this occurred, according to ProPublica and the Tribune.
ProPublica added: “According to child welfare reports, two other minors who are connected to Larson also alleged he sexually abused them. A DCFS investigation found those accusations ‘unsupported.'”
Michelle Jones, described by ProPublica as “a reunification therapist appointed by the court to work with Ty and Brynlee,” told ProPublica that the children’s abuse accusations are a “false narrative,” adding of state welfare workers, “sometimes they accidently make a substantiation.”
However, according to ProPublica, psychologist Monica D. Christ wrote in a report that “at the very least” Brent Larson’s behavior was “unusual and inappropriate.”
ProPublica uploaded a copy of a child protective restraining order from 2018 that lists Brent Joel Larson as the respondent.
It also lists four children protected by the order, including “TL and BL.”
Since they have gone public, ProPublica did not black out the names of Ty Brenten Larson and Brynlee Jade Larson from the order.
It says that their father was “restrained from attempting, committing or threatening to commit abuse” against the children.
He was ordered to stay away from their residence, school, and place of employment.
“The court finds that Respondent’s use or possession of a weapon may pose a serious harm to minor children,” the order says, indicating that the father was prohibited from purchasing or using a firearm.
The father was granted four hours of supervised parent time every 2nd, 4th and 5th Saturday and Monday at a professional agency, the court documents say. Telephonic parent time was suspended, it adds.
4. A GoFundMe Page Says Ty Larson ‘Has Found Solace in Creating Video Content’
@sticauti @stupid_flipper @stellajadeofficial @tickedoffmama @bigtoria @grammacrabs @onemomsbattle thank you for watching! #tyandbrynsarmy ♬ original sound – STICAUTI
A family friend named Aaron Zahrt created a GoFundMe page for the siblings.
“Ty and Bryn’s story is one of resilience and bravery in the face of unimaginable abuse,” it says.
The GoFundMe continues:
Throughout this difficult time, Ty has found solace in creating video content. He wanted to use his experiences to raise awareness about the realities of child abuse and to show others that they are not alone. He is determined to break the cycle of abuse, and he knows that by sharing his story, he could help others who were going through similar situations.
Their content has gained a lot of traction, and they have been able to reach a wide audience. Many people have been moved by their story and have reached out to offer support and donations. The money raised will be used to help Ty and Bryn cover their legal fees, as well as to help them start a new life away from their abuser.
It is inspiring to see two young people who have been through so much still have the courage and determination to fight for their safety and well-being. Ty and Bryn’s story is a reminder that no one should have to endure abuse, and that with the support of others, it is possible to break the cycle.
If you would like to help Ty and Bryn in their fight for safety, you can donate to their fundraiser. Every little bit helps and it will bring them a step closer to the safety and freedom they deserve.
Larson’s uncle shared his own TikTok video explaining who everyone is in the saga and naming their social media accounts.
5. Brent Larson Is Under Investigation by Two Police Departments & the District Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake County, But Denies the Accusations of Abuse, Reports Say
The Tribune says that Brent Joel Larson denies the accusations that he abused his children, blaming parental alienation, a phenomenon in which one parents turns children psychologically against the other parent.
His attorney Ron Wilkinson, “disputed the 2018 finding that he had abused the children,” the Tribune reported, quoting Wilkinson as saying, “There have been similar false claims — repeatedly, for years. The stories continue to change and expand each time — always about the same events.”
Heavy has contacted Wilkinson to seek comment from Brent Larson.
Larson has accused Zahrt “of sabotaging his relationship with Ty and Brynlee through a campaign of ‘parental alienation,'” the Tribune reported.
According to the Tribune report, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office is conducting an “ongoing criminal investigation into Brent Larson related to new allegations against him,” referring to the father, who was not charged after an investigation in 2021 because of lack of evidence.
Two Utah police departments, Herriman and Lone Peak, are investigating Brent Larson “for child abuse,” the newspaper reported.
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