GRAPHIC: Four arrested in ‘child torture’ involving 8-year-old girl, officials say
WELLFORD, S.C. (WHNS/Gray News) - Police in South Carolina arrested four adults on child abuse charges after a doctor said a young girl’s injuries met the criteria for a medical diagnosis of child torture.
The Spartanburg Sheriff’s Office said deputies and the Department of Social Services (DSS) responded to a home on Sept. 2 with a detailed child abuse allegation that the agency received from an anonymous source.
When they arrived, deputies said they were told by a caseworker that DSS had come to the home several times to investigate, but the four adults at the home had hidden the victim, an 8-year-old girl.
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Authorities said four children of different ages were found in the home, but the girl had a noticeable limp and temporary tattoos covering visible bruises the girl had on both of her legs.
The four adults were identified as 25-year-old Ian Tatro, 24-year-old Tenika Draper, 47-year-old Trina Rae Draper and 28-year-old Ryan Dezotelle. WHNS reports the suspects had recently moved to South Carolina from Vermont.
Authorities said Tenika Draper admitted to putting makeup on the victim’s leg to cover up the bruising once DSS started coming to the house.
During a bond hearing on Friday, the solicitor’s office said multiple suspects made the girl eat cat feces and cat food. The child had scars on her knees from kneeling in a crate and was beaten with boards, cords and a frying pan, according to the solicitor’s office.
The solicitor’s office said Tatro gave the girl laxatives and made her wear pull-ups. He reportedly told the child he “wished he could kill her and get away with it.”
A spokesperson for the solicitor’s office said the victim told investigators when she was rescued, “This is the best day of my life.”
The sheriff’s office said all four children were placed into emergency protective custody with DSS. The 8-year-old was taken to the hospital and admitted due to the extent of her bruising and blood loss concerns.
She spent two days in the hospital after she was removed from the home, according to WHNS.
Deputies said medical personnel and one of the investigators spoke with the victim at the hospital where more detailed information was learned.
It was also discovered, after the evaluation of a forensic doctor, that the 8-year-old girl met the criteria for a medical diagnosis of child torture.
A search warrant executed at the house led to the discovery of more evidence that further corroborated the victim’s disclosure.
Officials said Tatro is charged with 13 counts of unlawful child neglect and two counts of obstruction. His bond was set at $90,000.
Tenika Draper is charged with 11 counts of unlawful neglect of a child and three counts of obstruction. Her bond was set at $98,000.
Trina Rae Draper is charged with five counts of cruelty to children, three counts of obstruction and one count of assault and battery. Her bond was set at $23,000.
Dezotelle is charged with three counts of cruelty to children, three counts of assault and battery and two counts of obstruction. His bond was set at $24,000.
During bond hearings on Friday, WHNS reports a judge said none of the suspects can return to the home where the abuse occurred or have contact with any of the children. They were all placed on GPS monitoring and will be on home detention if they bond out of jail.
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