A grandmother and her boyfriend were arrested Sunday for allegedly tying up a six-year-old boy in a shed behind their home in Dallas, Texas.
When police arrived at the home on Coston Drive at about 11:30 p.m. and asked the grandmother where the boy was, she told them he was with his mother, according to CBS 11.
However, once the officers walked toward the rear of the home, they found a man living on the back of the property who directed them to a shed.
“Officers told the grandmother to open the shed or they would break down the door. She opened it and police found the boy,” the article said.
When police questioned the boy, he reportedly told them the alleged abuse began when he “got out of school for this corona thing.”
“His grandmother said he was only in there that one time as punishment. But her boyfriend (who lives in the house) said for at least two weeks, confinement in the shed was the child’s punishment since he was stealing food,” the report stated.
Following the arrests, police did not release the names of the suspects and the child’s condition remained unknown.
In March, doctors at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth said they believed six cases of severe child abuse that happened in one week were linked to the coronavirus pandemic, according to CBS 11.
Typically, the children’s hospital only saw that number of such cases over the course of a month. Each of the children admitted the week of March 20 were under four-years-old.
The stress of the health crisis may have become too much for some parents, said Jamye Coffman, M.D., who is the medical director of the hospital’s Center for Prevention and Child Abuse and Neglect.
People have so much increased stress right now. They’ve got financial stress. Some people lost their job or worried about keeping their current job. They lost their income. You’ve got stress from being overcrowded. Everyone’s cooped up together. They feel like they can’t get away from each other. These stressors can lead to abuse.
However, the numbers of child abuse reports took a nosedive the last week in March, according to KVUE.
“In the last full week in March, less than 6,000 reports were made. That’s about a 48% drop from the beginning of the month to the end,” the article noted.
But the decline in reports did not mean abuse was not happening at all, according to Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) spokesperson Marissa Gonzales.
“If children are at home and they don’t have as many pairs of eyes on them, and we know this is a particularly stressful time, then it could put children who are already at risk at higher risk of abuse and neglect,” she commented.
Although Texas schools have been closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district hoped to bring students back in the fall after making changes to guard against the virus.
“We’re not going back to normal. We know we’re going to have some type of modifications in August,” he stated.