A couple in Fayetteville is facing severe child abuse charges after the police found that they have been punishing an 8-year-old vigorously. The boy has been handcuffed to a table for several hours a day and he has been starving for several months.
Melissa Miranda, 33, and Josue Tovias, who is 28, have been arrested on the Jan. 27 on account of having kidnapped and abused a child. Other charges include second-degree domestic battery, first-degree endangering a minor's welfare, aggravated assault on a family member, first-degree terroristic threats and tampering with physical evidence -- all of which are considered felonies.
Melissa has four other children, and she is also reportedly pregnant. It is said she isolated her son, starved him of her love and care, and punished him out of jealousy.
KFSM reports that she became jealous of her own son because her mother loved him more than she loved her, according to a probable cause affidavit.
According to the affidavit, her son refused to stay in timeout and he also stole junk food from the kitchen. As punishment for these atrocities, Melissa and Tovias handcuffed him to a table in their living room from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Also, she reportedly tried to take her son to the washroom several times, but she eventually made him sleep on a trash bag,because he urinated and stained the carpet.
According to the police, Tovias, who is Melissa’s live-in boyfriend, is not the biological father of the victim, though he is the father of her two other children. Tovias denied these allegations against him and his girlfriend.
Fayetteville police went on to talk to staff at the 8-year-old victim's school, where they learned that the boy's appearance had drastically changed ever since November 2017.
His eyes and cheeks had become sunken, according to them. His skin tone had also changed.
They went on to say that the boy was also seen eating from the trash cans and hoarding and stealing from some of his fellow students. The staff also said that the parents of the boy were very negligent, even after they were contacted about the situation, and they also refused to bring the boy clean clothes.
According to the affidavit, the school created an alternate eating schedule to accommodate the boy's severe hunger. The boy's mother said that her son only ate about three times every week for months.
An interview with the victim and his siblings is reported to have really shed light on the case. At the Children’s Safety Center, they found out that the boy had a distended stomach and the bones of his ribs and chest were visible.
He also had an injury in his wrist due to the constant wearing of the handcuffs.
The police also said that the DHS had taken full custody of all of their children.
Miranda and Tovias are reportedly being held at the Washington County Detention Center on $50,000 bonds. They both have hearings set for Feb. 28.