An Arizona couple have been arrested and charged for forcing their teenage son to live outside for over a month in temperatures upwards of 100 degrees. Brian and Shelly Romine are facing charges of physical abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.
According to the Daily Mail, Brian told police that he kicked his son out of the house with a sleeping bag and a pillow in order to discipline him for “peeling off foil lids from containers of cake sprinkles” and eating them. The teen had also taken change from his parents’ pockets and used headphones from a video game console. Brian allegedly encouraged his son a number of times to run away and live with relatives.
Brian and his wife, the teen’s stepmother, both characterize their son as disrespectful and dishonest, and say that he was merely being punished for misbehaving. Shelly said that the boy didn’t complain about sleeping outside at all during the course of the incident.
After being kicked out this past June, the 16-year-old lived outside and slept in a lawn chair on the back patio for well over a month before eventually seeking shelter with his uncle in July. The uncle, Tray Romine, told ABC 15 News that his brother and sister-in-law “treated their dog better” than they treated their son. The news station reported that the teen was forced to bathe using a hose. In addition to living in triple-digit heat, the boy also spent nights enduring monsoon rains.
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After numerous attempts to talk sense into his brother throughout the ordeal, Tray finally called the police and had the couple arrested. The teen is currently living with a foster family after first being taken into state custody.