A Fayetteville couple is being held on $50,000 bond for the abuse of an 8-year-old boy after subjecting him to starvation, threats and even handcuffing him to a desk overnight, according to 5 News Online.
Melissa Miranda, 33, and Josue Tovias, 28 were arrested Saturday after authorities followed a complaint about possible child abuse in their home. The couple are charged with kidnapping, permitting child abuse, second-degree domestic battery, first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, aggravated assault on a family or household member, first-degree terroristic threatening and tampering with physical evidence. According to an affidavit, Miranda, the child's mother, acted out of jealousy that her own mother loved her young son more than her. The state Department of Human Services acted on an alert of possible child abuse in the home and the police got involved shortly after that.
Miranda also claims she was punishing her son for refusing to stay in time out and stealing junk food from the home. This caused her to handcuff the child to a desk in the home's living room, leaving him there from approximately 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly, not even allowing him to go to the bathroom and having him sleep on top of a trash bag. Miranda also admitted that her son only ate "about three nights a week."
Police went to the boy's school to get more insight into what may be going on and were told by teachers that they had been noticing his sunken cheeks and eyes and changing skin since November of last year. When school staff attempted to confront the couple with their concerns, the parents were evasive. It got so bad that the school made an eating schedule to address the child's extreme hunger.
A later interview of the boy along with his siblings revealed visible ribs and bones and a distended stomach. Additionally, the boy's sister provided video evidence of Miranda threatening the boy with a knife for stealing candy, telling him "thieves get their fingers cut off." The same sibling also revealed that Miranda "hated" the boy, and wanted him out of the house.
Tovias, Miranda's live-in boyfriend and father of two of her four children, denied all allegations. Both Miranda and Tovias are being held at Washington County Detention Center awaiting court hearings on Feb. 28.