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2 charged with zip-tying boy to porch swing on cold day

March 17, 2021 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Multiple felony charges have been filed against a man and woman who are accused of zip-tying a 13-year-old boy to a Springfield porch swing last year on a day when temperatures barely inched above freezing.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that 43-year-old Jerry Smith and 51-year-old Rebecca Herndon were charged Tuesday with four counts of child abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. No attorneys are listed for Smith or Herndon in online court records.

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Court documents say the boy told police that Smith punched him in the face and zip-tied him to a porch swing outside in February 2020 to prevent him from running away. The boy had been living at the time with Herndon, a family friend, in a home she shared with Smith.

Court documents say police found cut zip ties on the front porch. Smith said in an interview that he zip-tied the boy to the porch swing at Herndon’s request.

Court documents said Herndon showed police pictures that had been taken of the boy while he was restrained, saying the boy was not in distress.