Twenty-eight-year-old Ashley Burkes of Hedgesville, West Virginia, is currently incarcerated at the Eastern Regional Jail after police say the woman posted photos of her children being abused on Facebook and laughing about it. According to the Herald Mail, the child was lying on a bed in the fetal position, hands and feet bound, and the circulation to his extremities appeared to be impaired.
Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department Deputy B.M. Humphrey said he responded to a call about a woman who had posted pictures on Facebook of a young boy obviously being restrained and in distress, he said.
“You can clearly see that the zip ties on his wrist were so tight that the child’s hands were turning red.”
He added that the boy’s face was red and eyes were puffy, which showed he had been crying. In the picture, he is tied and laying on a bed and staring directly at the camera, with eyes that are swollen and red.
The woman posted the photo dated December 28, 2016, that was captioned “our kids r going 2 bed 1 way or another!… lol!”
There are three minor children in the home that Burkes shares with her boyfriend on Haymaker Road, and Child Protective Services was called to survey the situation as well. Another picture showed a young toddler in a car with only a seat belt and no car seat, and yet another photo showed a toddler with a transparent plastic bag completely over her head. Burkes says that all of these incidents are jokes and that she allows the children to zip-tie her and her boyfriend as well since it is a well-liked game in the household.
However, authorities were not laughing about the game or about the conditions in the home, which they described as unsanitary. Authorities said the children were exposed to live electrical wires and that the home was in general disarray, including the fact that old food was laying out in the kitchen and dirty dishes were piled up in the sink.
Many on Facebook defended Burkes, saying that she “was a good mother” and that the pictures were in jest. Meanwhile, others were furious at the photo of the restrained and crying child, as well as the child with a bag over her head. Burkes’ boyfriend is claiming that it is a misunderstanding and started a GoFundMe account to help get his girlfriend out of jail. He also told many people they were “destroying her reputation.” Many people on Facebook were not buying the fact that it was a game or a joke.
One Facebook poster said that she was sick after viewing the photos.
“You already know how pissed I am about this…I was literally sick to my stomach and shaking in anger….Evidently, her ‘boyfriend’ is claiming it was a ‘joke’ & the ‘police lied’…. seriously?! Let me pull a joke on his and her @$$ like that…errrggghhh..My heart aches for those babies & I wanna break her apart!!”
It is not known if Burkes has any type of criminal record before this, but the 28-year-old appeared to have been crying in her booking photo at the Eastern Regional Jail. The boyfriend, who she alleged was part of the “zip-tying” game, had not been charged as of this writing. He claims that Child Protective Services have concluded their investigation and found nothing wrong with the situation, which is unconfirmed by the Berkeley County Department of Health and Human Services. It is unknown if the children are currently with the boyfriend or other relatives.
Do you think this situation is a misinterpreted joke, or is this a case of serious child abuse?
[Featured Image by txking/Shutterstock]