A severely abused 4-year-old little girl told police, “My name is idiot,” when they asked her name. Police arrested her mother and her mother’s boyfriend after evaluating the girl’s injuries and hearing statements from both adults, as well as several children living in the home. Jennifer Diane Denen, the child’s mother, and Clarence Eugene Reed, her live-in boyfriend, were arrested last Friday on charges of first-degree domestic battery, allowing the abuse of a minor, and endangering the welfare of a minor. Each charge is punishable by up to six years. They were each being held on $500,000 bond and will appear August 23 in Garland County District Court.
Police were called to Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center when employees examined the girl and found multiple signs of abuse, according to the Hot Springs Sentinel Record. The child had deep, dark purple bruises on her bottom, lower back and legs, a black eye, swollen right cheek, a bruise on her forehead, scars in various stages of healing on her back, and dried blood in the corner of her mouth. She had ligature marks on her wrists, which showed investigators she had been restrained. She also showed signs of being malnourished.
When Hot Springs police officers asked her name, she reportedly told them, “idiot.” Another minor at the same residence told police the little girl had been tied up and that she was frequently called “idiot.” Denen, 30, and Reed, 47, were both at the center when police arrived. They were both taken to the police department for questioning. Denen, the girl’s mother, told police she saw Reed, her boyfriend, strike the 4-year-old on the bottom with a plastic bat. The other child present told Denen that Reed had tied the girl to a chair with plastic zip ties, says a report from Fox News.
Denen allegedly admitted to investigators that she was aware of the regular abuse from Reed, but still hadn’t sought medical care for the child’s injuries, says CNN. She also said that Reed often called the child “idiot” while she was near enough to hear it. As for Reed, he allegedly confessed to hitting the girl on the bottom with a half-inch thick wooden paddle, but denied hitting her with a plastic bat. He also allegedly admitted that he and Denen had both used zip ties to restrain the child to her bed after they caught her climbing on the cabinets in the kitchen. Reed told them he did call the little girl “idiot,” rather than her own name, but said he had only done so as a joke. Another juvenile at the girl’s home told police that the little girl was commonly referred to as “idiot.”
Corporal Kirk Zaner, a Hot Springs police spokesman, said there were a total of six children living in the home. The 4-year-old girl and an 11-month-old were taken into protective services. Four other siblings were placed with their biological father, according to a report from the Washington Post. Denen and Reed were both with the girl when police arrived, and were then taken to the police station for questioning. They are currently being held on $500,000 bond each pending further court action.
For an abused 4-year-old little girl who told police, “My name is idiot,'” the emotional scars will last far beyond the healing of her physical wounds.
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