John Hernandez and Natasha Dabbs Tampa, Florida couple lock boy in closet 16 hours a day over behavioral issues as part of disciplining arrested for child abuse.
A Florida couple have been arrested after admitting to handcuffing a young boy in a closet for 16 hours a day as part of disciplining.
John Hernandez, 41, and Natasha Dabbs, 37, were arrested Sunday after authorities went to the home to locate a missing boy, whom they found hiding in the Tampa, home, according to a released statement via HCSO (Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office).
A short time later, Hillsborough County deputies returned to the home to look into possible child abuse.
The boy told deputies he had been handcuffed and forced to stand in a closet for about 16 hours a day for several weeks WFLA reported.
When questioned by detectives, Hernandez admitted locking the boy in the closet from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. to punish him for what he described as, ‘behavioral issues.’
Dabbs also told authorities that the abuse had been happening since Christmas.
Dabbs admitted being aware of the abuse, while acknowledging she did nothing to prevent it, authorities said.
Authorities did not release any information about the relationship between the couple and the boy due to a state law protecting victims – as cited Marsy’s Law.
Both Hernandez and Dabbs were arrested and booked into the Orient Road Jail. Hernandez is charged with aggravated child abuse (malicious punishment) and his bond was set at $25,000, according to online records. Dabbs is charged with child neglect as well as failure to report child abuse. She remains in custody on a $10,000 bond.
‘The actions of this couple are reprehensible,’ Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement, WFLA reported.
‘I am so proud of our deputies for noticing something was not right while they were at the initial call and following through. Their actions may have saved this young boy’s life.’
The investigation is active and ongoing.