A Missouri couple was arrested for child abuse after police officers discovered a young boy wandering down a state highway. When questioned as to why he was walking alone, the 12-year-old told a harrowing tale of mistreatment. The boy told officers with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department that he was trying to escape from his parents’ home. The official report mentions several textbook examples of child abuse.
Horrific Abuse of a Young Boy
First, the young boy appeared to have been beaten. He had extensive bruising on his face, arms, legs, and torso. He said that his parents would beat him, with both their bare hands and a belt, whenever they caught him sneaking food.
Second, his parents reportedly starved him. He only weighed 74 pounds, much less than other young boys of the same age. Even more distressing, the boy told investigators that just four months earlier, he weighed 120 pounds.
Third, and worst of all, his parents kept him prisoner in their home. The young boy said that his father handcuffed him to his bed every night, to keep him from sneaking food. He also alleged that his parents would often leave him handcuffed and alone while they went out.
Because of the bruising and the severe weight loss, the boy was taken to a nearby hospital for a complete health evaluation. Doctors diagnosed him with “re-feeding syndrome”. This is a symptom of malnourishment or starvation.
After obtaining a search warrant, deputies went to the boy’s home. Once there, they found handcuffs attached to the little boys’ bed. The couple tried to claim the boy suffered health issues stemming from poor eating habits. They also said that he was kept constantly restrained “for his own good.”
Nicole Crets, 33, and Christopher Crets, 40, face charges of felony child abuse. Christopher is also charged with felony kidnapping and another four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. He has a criminal history that includes drug trafficking and statutory rape. Therefore, he is prohibited from owning a gun.
In the aftermath of this, the young boy is placed in protective custody and his parents are held without bond. Sheriff Kevin Harrison says, “It just put a knot in my stomach. For a parent to handcuff their child to a bed and regularly beat them … it’s not just child abuse. It’s torture.”