Police accuse northwest Arkansas couple of handcuffing, starving child

Wednesday, 31 Jan, 2018

A case of cruel punishment was brought to authorities in Arkansas when a mother of five was exposed for purposely starving her child in a jealous rage.

According to police, the boy's 17-year-old sister told officials, the parents would handcuff the child to furniture on an nearly daily basis as a punishment and would often deny him food. 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 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.

Detectives interviewed staff at the boy's school who said the boy's appearance had been changing since November, and his eyes and cheeks had sunken in and his skin tone changed.

Police believe Miranda and her boyfriend began abusing the child in November 2017.

Miranda said her son refused to stay in timeout and stole junk food from the kitchen, so she and Tovias began handcuffing him to a school desk in their living room between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., according to the affidavit.

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.

Tovias told police he is the father of Miranda's 5-year-old and her unborn child. Tovias denied these allegations against him and his girlfriend.

A northwest Arkansas couple face charges accused of handcuffing and starving a child. The boy's mother said that her son only ate about three times every week for months. He was struggling with school he was seen eating out of trash cans.

According to official documents, police saw the child with a scabbed injury on his right hand that resembled someone applying pressure to a handcuff while wearing it.

Tovias denied the child abuse, and Miranda said he knew about the abuse, according to the report. Both Miranda and Tovias are being held at Washington County Detention Center awaiting court hearings on February 28.