Category Archives: Cruelty

FL Special Needs Teacher Arrested For Child Abuse

.jpg photo of teacher arrested for child abuse of special needs children
Graciela Reyes-Marino

Special Education Teacher at Miami
School Facing Child Abuse,
Neglect Charges

MIAMI, FL  –   A special education teacher at a Miami elementary school is facing charges after police said she punched a student and shoved another.

Graciela Reyes-Marino, a teacher at Auburndale Elementary, was arrested Thursday on aggravated child abuse and child neglect charges, an arrest report said.

The report said earlier this month a boy in Reyes-Marino’s class had been crying and screaming when she allegedly grabbed him by the wrist and shoved him into a bathroom corridor.

She then closed the doors behind the boy, leaving him alone in a confined area for 3-4 seconds until he started screaming louder, the report said. She then opened the door and walked him to his desk.

During a separate incident, a student who was looking under his desk had been asked to stop multiple times by Reyes-Marino before she punched him on his upper back area with a closed fist, the report said.

“[Reyes-Marino] forcefully lifted [the victim] from the ground, proceeded to kick him in the leg and punch him with a closed fist on his upper back area prior to sitting him down,” the report said.

The report said Reyes-Marino denied punching the boy and said she propped the door open for the other student in the corridor.

Reyes-Marino, 60, was booked into jail and later released on bond.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials said Reyes-Marino had been employed by the district for about eight years but will be fired.

“Miami-Dade County Public Schools is deeply disturbed about the serious allegations made against the employee.  Conduct such as the one she is accused of will not be tolerated,” the district said in a statement.  “As soon as the allegations surfaced, the individual was reassigned away from the school setting pending the outcome of an investigation by the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department.  As a result of this week’s arrest, her employment will be terminated and she will be precluded from seeking future work with the District.”

CO Man Pleads Guilty To Child Abuse

.jpg photo of colorado man whose son was found encased in concrete
Leland Pankey, 40, pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a deceased human body.

Father of Denver boy found encased in
concrete pleads guilty to Child Abuse;
murder charge dropped

DENVER, CO  –  The father of a 7-year-old Denver boy found encased in concrete in 2018 has pleaded guilty to a child abuse charge in the case, in exchange for prosecutors dropping the murder charge against him.

Leland Pankey, 40, was charged with murder in Caden McWilliams’ death in May.  In a hearing on Thursday, he pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and tampering with a deceased human body.

The murder charge was dropped in the deal.  Pankey now faces up to 72 years in prison.

“This agreement provides justice for Caden while ensuring that Mr. Pankey will serve a significant amount of time behind bars,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a news release Thursday.  “This is one of the most horrific cases ever handled by the Denver DA’s Office and we were acutely concerned about re-traumatizing Caden’s family as well as the jury, judge and everyone else involved should this case proceed to trial.”

Pankey is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 28.

The body of McWilliams was found encased in concrete in a storage unit in the 5000 block of East Evans Avenue in Denver on Dec. 23, 2018.

McWilliams’ mother, Elisha Pankey, also pleaded guilty in August to one count of child abuse resulting in death.

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner ruled in a report in March that Caden had been malnourished and had cocaine metabolite and methamphetamine in his system.  The boy also had numerous injuries to his head, torso and extremities, according to the autopsy.  He may have suffered from asphyxia, dehydration or hyperthermia, but that couldn’t be confirmed, the autopsy said.

In an interview with police in March, Elisha Pankey told investigators that Leland Pankey abused Caden while they were living in an extended-stay hotel, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.  The couple and their two children had moved into the hotel in May 2018, and Leland Pankey watched the children while Elisha Pankey went to work, she told investigators.

Elisha Pankey said Caden died in July 2018 after his father kept him in a dog kennel, the affidavit said.  A woman who had been in the Arapahoe County Jail with Elisha Pankey in December said Pankey told her that she believed her son suffocated in the dog kennel.

Leland Pankey kept Caden in the kennel overnight – with blankets on top of it – and the boy cried out that he was hot and thirsty, Elisha Pankey told her fellow inmate, according to the affidavit.

On the day Caden died, his mother and father bought Quikrete, trash bags and water, drove Caden’s body to the storage unit on Evans Avenue, and mixed the concrete and poured it into the kennel, the affidavit said.

The boy’s body wasn’t discovered until December, when officers responded to a domestic violence call involving the Pankeys.

Police learned that the couple had two children, and Elisha Pankey told officers that the children were with their father.  When police contacted Leland Pankey, he said one child was in daycare, but he avoided answering questions about Caden, eventually telling officers the boy was with his mother, the affidavit said.

When officers interviewed a woman whose name was redacted in the affidavit, she told police that Leland Pankey had lost his son and that Pankey said her family could have their storage “because it had too many memories,” the affidavit said.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for the Pankeys’ storage unit and found Caden’s remains inside.

Son: Mom Why Us?

.jpg photo of mother who allowed step-father to abuse her children
Rebecca Ann Bell

Son of woman charged in Wake Forest
Child Abuse case: ‘We never had a
stable home’

WAKE FOREST, NC  –  Two Wake Forest parents were charged with child abuse causing serious physical injury, arrest records show.

.jpg photo of step-father that abused children
Michael Daniel Bell

Records state Michael Daniel Bell and Rebecca Ann Bell, of Washhouse Lane in Wake Forest, failed to enroll at least one child in school, abused at least one child and exposed a child to domestic violence and let at least one child live in a condemned home for a week.

The home that was condemned had no electricity and no running water and had holes in the ceilings, exposed nails in the floor and mold and raw meat throughout the house, according to warrants.

According to the couple’s Facebook page, they have nine children.

.jpg photo of woman's oldest son that told authorities of abuse by step-father
Matthew Shirely, 21, and his Family.

Rebecca Bell’s oldest son, 21-year-old Matthew Shirely, lives in Nevada and said that Michael Bell abused him and his siblings for years.

“You know, just getting like smacked around to like actual fistfights between me and my stepdad,” he said.

Shirely said his family lived in Nevada prior to living in North Carolina, where Rebecca Bell moved to get back together with Michael.

“Growing up, none of my siblings, me included, we never had a stable home.  We bounced around.  Off the top of my head, I could probably give you around anywhere from 16 to 20 addresses we’ve lived at,” Shirely said.

Shirely said he feels helpless being across the country while 10 of his siblings are split up in foster care.

“You know, they’ve gone through it in the past.  They went through it when I was there.  I went through it when I was with them, and it hurts knowing my siblings, like I’m not there to do anything about it,” he said.

A father himself, Shirely said he doesn’t understand how his mother could watch her children suffer.

“She’s seen the fights, she’s seen abuse, she’s seen the way Mike treats the kids, and it just amazes me someone could watch their kids go through that and not want something better,” he said.

Michael Bell was charged in February with sexual exploitation of a minor

Records stated he possessed three photos of child pornography: an infant girl, a girl about 6 years old and a girl about 7 to 10 years old.

Michael Bell and Rebecca Bell were also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Special Needs Child Locked In Basement Storage

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Special Needs Child locked In basement storage room.

Macy couple pleads not guilty to
Child Abuse

OMAHA, NE  –  A Macy, Nebraska, husband and wife have pleaded not guilty to locking a 10-year-old foster son in a basement storage room.

Krista Parker entered her plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha to federal and state charges of kidnapping, child abuse/neglect and false imprisonment. Charles Parker pleaded not guilty to the same charges Thursday.

Trial dates have not been set.

According to court documents, authorities on Sept. 15 were called to the Parker home about a report of a boy locked in a storage room.

Officers found the boy locked in the dark, windowless room, amid trash, a few toys and human feces.  The room stunk of urine and feces, court documents said.

Krista Parker was found passed out upstairs, and a preliminary breath test showed her blood-alcohol content at 0.126 percent.

Parker confessed to locking the boy in the room a few hours earlier, court documents said, but denied confining the special-needs boy, who had been in her foster care for nine months, in the room previously.

Charles Parker told officers he was unaware that his wife had confined their son in the room that night, but he said that they occasionally locked the boy in the room for several hours and maybe for a night one time, court documents said.

The boy told a forensic interviewer that the storage room was his bedroom and that he slept on the floor because he did not have a bed.

MO Man Charged With Cruel Child Abuse

.jpg photo of man charged with Child Abuse
James L. Hays Jr., 48

Sedalia man charged with Child Abuse

SEDALIA, MO  –  A Sedalia man has been charged with physically abusing three children.

James L. Hays Jr., 48, of the 300 block of East 14th Street, was arrested Monday afternoon at his residence and was charged Tuesday in Pettis County Circuit Court with three counts of abuse or neglect of a child.  He is at the Pettis County Jail on a $1 million bond, cash or surety.

According to a Sedalia Police Department report, an officer took a report July 23 in reference to several allegations of child abuse to three children.  Detective Travis St. Cyr began an investigation and a search warrant was served at Hays’ home Monday.

The probable cause statement indicates the children’s grandmother took them to Bothwell Regional Health Center after she noticed large bruises on them and they disclosed to her that a man known to them, identified as Hays, had been physically abusing them.  The children are ages 12, 9 and 8.

All three children were interviewed at Child Safe of Central Missouri on July 27, according to the probable cause statement.

The 9-year-old said Hays would “kick them, make them do punishments and drown them” when their mother wasn’t home.  The child showed the Child Safe interviewer a bruise and a knot on her leg from Hays kicking her, explaining it happened when she was eating granola bars.  She said Hays took the food away, spanked the child a few times, kicked her and made her do push-ups.

The girl said he “yells at them, kicks them a lot, and spanks her” when the children try to get food, court documents state.  Hays barely feeds them, she said.

The child also talked about occasions when Hays forced her to eat hot peppers, poured water over her head causing her to be unable to breathe, hit her with a belt, and called her names.

The 8-year-old said Hays makes him do “up-downs, push-ups, jumping jacks and gets spankings with a belt” when he’s in trouble.

All three children told the interviewer about numerous occasions when he would hit, kick or spank them, usually leaving bruises.  The 8-year-old recalled a time when the 9-year-old’s legs were hurt so badly she could barely walk, and another time the 12-year-old was shot with green bullets, which detectives later discovered with an airsoft gun during the search warrant.

The children all also talked about Hays locking them in the bathroom and forcing them to sleep in a closet in the bathroom.  The 9-year-old said Hays locks the door with a bar on the outside.  The 12-year-old drew pictures of the two metal bars she said Hays uses; one is black with “Hays” written on it while the other is red with Neo-Nazi symbols, court documents state.

The 12-year-old said they’ve been sleeping in the bathroom for four years.

Two children said their mother isn’t allowed to do anything about Hays locking the children in the bathroom.  The 9-year-old talked about their mother “sneaking food to them while locked in the bathroom.  She specifically mentioned peanut butter and jelly.”  The 12-year-old said a few times their mother either tried to call someone or get the children out of the bathroom, but Hays wouldn’t let her.

According to court documents, during the search warrant SPD officers found the black metal bar, the red metal bar, belts matching the children’s descriptions, and a long rifle airsoft gun with green plastic BBs loaded inside, all consistent with the children’s disclosures.

The bathroom door didn’t have metal brackets attached, “but it was clear that they were recently removed.”  Officers found brackets inside a toolbox that matched up with the holes on the door frame.

Online court documents do not list an attorney for Hays, and a hearing has not been scheduled.