Couple dealing with baby abuse, neglect fees in ‘baby torture’ case, investigators say
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/Gray News) — A couple in Missouri is facing several charges of child abuse and neglect.
Police have accused Joseph and Peggy Flores of actions such as putting their teenage son in a dog kennel for punishment. Investigators said medical examiners described the level of abuse as near “child torture.”
KY3 reports the abuse took place in March 2020. Court records showed the 15-year-old boy talked to an investigator at the Child Advocacy Center later in July 2020.
“One of the most important things is that we want to make sure that we are allowing the child to participate in the process at whatever level they want to,” said Micki Lane with the Child Advocacy Center.
Documents showed the 15-year-old told the forensic interviewer that his parents would lock him in a room with the window nailed shut and put him in a kennel, naked, with two dogs.
According to investigators, the teenager said his parents would pour urine on him as punishment. His parents would also whip his body with an extension cord while yelling profanities at him.
“Over 90% of the time, allegations of abuse are done by someone in the family, or someone known well to the family,” Lane said.
She said the advocacy center did not interview the teenager in this case, but abuse can leave lasting scars.
“Survivors of abuse, learn to live with what’s happened. It doesn’t have to define them,” Lane said. “They may not think about it every day, but it’s not something that just goes away.”
Documents also showed that examiners found physical scars, including patterned bruising. The child told forensic interviewers the abuse started when Springfield Public Schools shut down, and his parents had to home school children due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lane said child abuse is preventable. She said the three most important things are understanding, identifying and reporting suspicions.
“When we see something, and we report it, we want to support that child or teen,” Lane said. “We want to believe them. Belief is one of the things that significantly impact a child or teen’s ability to heal.”
An arrest warrant for the couple is awaiting a judge’s signature.
Prosecutors said the child has since been removed from the home, and the delayed arrest warrant has been partly due to the pandemic.
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