A Tennessee couple faces child abuse charges after a 10-year-old girl was caught trying to steal food from a teacher at her school, court documents said.
Trish Piatt and Jessie Piatt of Millington were arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect on March 29, police said.
According to police, the girl told them the Piatts forced her to sleep in the bathtub and barely gave her food. She said she only had a onesie to wear while sleeping and had to drink out of the bathroom toilet.
A Department of Child Services agent came to the school and said they had numerous reports on the child, and the agent wanted her to be sent back to the home.
The police officer refused. She said the accusations were too severe to send her home.
Jesse Piatt visited the school and said the girl was living in the poor conditions for his own safety, saying he feared the girl was going to kill him while he slept.
On why she was so dirty, he only said they tried to make her brush her teeth, but she refused each time.
Jesse Piatt told police the victim was an embarrassment. He also said she has an undiagnosed medical condition, and could not be treated because she was too young.
Teachers told police they bought the girl new shoes, and she changed into them at school. One day she forgot to change them back before she went home. The teachers never saw the shoes again, police said.
The police officer eventually decided it was in the girl's best interest to admit her to a mental health institution. She told police she would rather go there than go home because she would have food and a warm bed.
In January, a doctor told police they feared the girl was being tortured. She had multiple abrasions, bruising and swelling. The doctor also said the girl's behavior is indicative of nutritional neglect, medical neglect, and psychological abuse.
The victim was eventually placed in foster care. Court records said she has gained weight, her hair has grown back and she appears to be happy.
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