The boy’s mother said he wouldn’t stay in timeout and stole junk food from the kitchen in their Fayetteville, Arkansas, home, so she and her boyfriend handcuffed him to a desk in their living room for more than four hours, police said.
Melissa Miranda, 33, said the boy often couldn’t make it the bathroom, and the carpet in that area had started to stain, so she made him sleep on a black trash bag, according to an affidavit, The Democrat-Gazette reported.
She claimed he was stealing candy, authorities said, so she threatened to cut him, abandon him in the cold and have him arrested, 40/29 News reported.
Staff members at his elementary school noticed that his eyes and cheeks “had become sunken,” in November and that he became emotional while eating, police said.
Miranda at first denied she was starving the boy, the police report said. Authorities said she later admitted the 8-year-old didn’t eat dinner roughly four nights a week because he “liked everyone’s cooking more than hers,” authorities said, according to The Democrat-Gazette.
The boy was left to sit by himself or read a book while his other family members ate, KNWA-TV reported.
Authorities received audio from Miranda’s 17-year-old daughter of the alleged abuse, the report said.
Miranda’s boyfriend, who lived in the home, Josue Tovias, 28, denied knowing anything about it, the news station reported.
Both Tovias and Miranda have been arrested this month and charged with beating the boy. Tovias is also charged with allowing the alleged abuse to happen.
Miranda’s children were taken into state custody, police said, according to KNWA. Miranda is pregnant with another child, FOX 16 reported.
Authorities say the boy had been singled out by his mother. The reason? Miranda was allegedly jealous that he had a better relationship with her mother, whom she believed loved him more than her, 40/29 News reported.
Miranda seemed disappointed in herself and said that she needed help, police said, FOX 16 reported.