Joshua Osborne, survivor of one of Wilson County’s most notorious child abuse cases, died early Wednesday morning at the age of 24.
Osborne, who was found chained to a bed in his Lebanon home and starved to just 49 pounds at 14, moved to La Vergne to live with a family member after his rescue.
His father, James C. Osborne III, and his stepmother, Christie Osborne, were convicted of neglect and attempted aggravated child abuse.
On Wednesday, La Vergne City Hall posted the following message on its Facebook wall:
“Sad news today. One of our most inspiring residents passed away last night. Josh Osborne survived severe child abuse and came to live in La Vergne after being rescued. Because of Josh’s work, the state expanded laws to include starvation and dehydration to the list of child abuse charges. We want to extend our sincere sympathy to Josh’s family and know you are in our thoughts at this time.”
Osborne graduated from La Vergne High School in 2007 and began working at the Smyrna Goodwill Store soon after.
He later transferred to the Antioch Goodwill Store on Mt. View Road and in 2009 was named Retail Employee of the Year for the company.
“The entire Goodwill family is saddened by the loss of Mr. Josh Osborne. He dedicated seven years of his life to Goodwill, and we are so grateful for his service,” said a spokesperson for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee.
“We will always remember Josh’s smile and positive attitude. He loved his Goodwill family, and we loved him. The quality of Josh’s work and his team spirit makes him irreplaceable. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and loved this remarkable young man,” said Mt. View Store Manager Angeline Bevins in a statement.
After his ordeal, Osborne actively lobbied to strengthen the state’s child abuse laws, and in 2008, the Joshua Osborne Law – which added starvation and dehydration to the definition of child abuse – took effect.
Nashville’s WKRN reported Wednesday his sister, Toshua Brooks, told them Osborne “had contracted some ‘sort of infection’ before he was taken to the hospital Tuesday.”