Even hardened police investigators displayed shock when they began to unravel details of a child neglect case in Steubenville.
Investigators began investigating 29-year-old James Allen Taylor of Steubenville and his wife, 26-year-old Samantha Marie Taylor, after receiving a tip of potential child abuse. Jefferson County's prosecutor said Steubenville Police Department investigators found the couple used duct tape to seal their three children, ages 5, 7, and 8, inside plastic storage containers.
Prosecutor Jane Hanlin tells 7News the parents punched holes in the totes so the children could breathe. The children have been removed from their parents' care.
"This is an uncommon case of child abuse," Hanlin said in an interview with 7News digital journalist Kurt Weinschenker. "It's a, it's an extraordinarily uncommon method of punishing children, to trap them in an area where they could be suffocated, where they're obviously terrified," Hanlin continued. "This is parenting at its absolute worst, and we intend to prosecute these people to the fullest extent of the law."
Hanlin went on to describe what police investigators say went on in the household when the parents were interviewed. She said, "They claim it was a form of punishment for the children. They actually put the children in the totes, secured the lids on the totes with tape, cut out a hole in the top, presumably so the children could get air, but would periodically cover the top of the totes with t-shirts or other things and drip water onto the children."
Both parents are charged with endangering children and unlawful restraint. Investigators have brought charges against two of the couple's friends who knew about the crime but failed to report it.