Police have taken a couple in Hot Springs, Arkansas, into custody after a 4-year-old girl that was removed from their home showed signs of abuse. The child was taken into protective custody last week and the arrest report claimed that she had been allegedly zip-tied to furniture and beaten.
(Photo: Hot Springs Arkansas Police Department)
The mother of the girl, Jennifer Diane Denen, 30, and her live-in boyfriend Clarence Eugene Reed, 47, have been charged with felony counts of first-degree domestic battery, permitting abuse of a minor and first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor. If convicted, they could both face up to 32 years in prison.
When the child was taken to Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center, workers examined the girl and found dark purple bruising on the lower half of her body. She also had a black eye, a swollen right cheek, a bruise on her forehead, healing scars across her back and dried blood in the corner of her mouth. The unidentified girl also had ligature marks on her wrists, indicating she had been restrained, and appeared to be malnourished.
After police officers were called to the facility, they tried to speak with the girl about her condition. When they asked the girl her name, she responded, “idiot.” A worker at the facility told the police that she was routinely called “idiot” at the home she was removed from.
Both Denen and Reed were present at the center when officers started their questioning. They were then taken into police custody and questioned further. Denen stated she saw Reed strike the 4-year-old on the bottom with a plastic bat. Denen also claimed that Reed regularly called her daughter “idiot” while in her presence.
Reed later admitted to hitting the girl with a half-inch thick wooden paddle, but not a plastic bat. He allegedly admitted that he and Denen had used zip ties to secure the child to her bed after they saw her climbing the cabinets in the kitchen.
Reed claimed that he was only joking when he referred to the child as "idiot."
The two are being held on a $500,000 bond and are set to appear Aug. 23 in Garland County District Court.
(Photo: sot/Getty Images)