The Volusia Sheriff’s Office recently arrested a Florida couple on charges related to what they are calling “a brutal pattern of child neglect, abuse, and torture.”
Taylor B. Schaefer, 28, and her boyfriend Shawn M. Stone, 32, face numerous charges that range from aggravated child abuse to false imprisonment.
According to officials with the Volusia Sheriff’s Office (VSO), the situation began when Schaefer called deputies after getting a “gut feeling” that her 5-year-old child was being abused by Stone.
She reportedly checked the surveillance video and confirmed the abuse before making the 911 call. Sherriff Mike Chitwood indicated that Stone had punched, kicked, and beat the victim with a mop handle for having an accident.
“In one incident, his hands were bound behind his back from 6:43 p.m. one evening until 2:02 p.m. the following day,” the sheriff’s office said. “On another occasion, his legs, feet, arms and torso were bound for at least an hour while Stone stood over him.”
Video taken in other parts of the home recorded the sounds of violence as the child was continuously beaten, deputies said.
“Ultimately, the investigation revealed multiple recordings of the victim receiving beatings while Schaefer was present in the house, as well as several instances where he was visibly injured and limping in her presence, but received no care or medical attention,” the sheriff’s office said.
The investigation additionally revealed that both children were forced into a dog cage and starved as well as subjected to other forms of physical abuse including being sprayed with boiling water and made to drink boiling water in addition to being beaten with household objects.
A third child who had an existing medical condition was also said to have been neglected without receiving proper care or nutrition according to investigators.
In response to these findings, VSO has charged Stone with 23 additional counts ranging from repeated acts of abuse and neglect to evidence tampering while Schaefer faces 25 charges related primarily to her failure to intervene or report instances of abuse even though she witnessed them firsthand, in her own home and on several occasions according to the sheriff’s office report.
On Sunday night she was taken into custody in Zephyrhills after the culmination of their investigation nearly two months after witnesses first reported signs of mistreatment at this residence.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.