RUSH SPRINGS, Okla. – Four people have been arrested for child abuse following a slew of allegations, including a disabled child being handcuffed to a bedroom table.
The alleged abuse took place in a trailer type home in Rush Springs. The four arrested are: April Summers, Amber Barnes, Jeffrey Rasmussen and George Mount.
Each face possible felony charges of child abuse and/or failure to protect from child abuse. Mount was arrested for failure to protect from child abuse and child neglect.
Grady County Undersheriff Phil Blevins told News 4 that the alleged victim is a 13-year-old boy. According to Blevins, their office was notified by the Department of Human Services, which was alerted by the boy’s teacher.
“She picks him up in the morning and takes him home at the end of the day. When she picks him up, a lot of times, most times, he smells like urine,” Blevins said. “The reason why he smells that way is because, when he gets there, a lot of times, they’ll give him a shower. They’ll change his clothes, wash his clothes but, during the night, he’s handcuffed beside the bed.”
According to court documents, the alleged victim told investigators that he would be forced to sleep on the hardwood floor and was not allowed to use the restroom when he was handcuffed, so “he has to ‘wet’ his pants, because he had to hold his ‘pee’.”
“The deputy that took the initial report, he was able to see actually signs of, marks around the victim’s wrist,” Blevins said.
The child also alleges his mother, Summers, and Amber would place superglued paper on his head and later rip it off when it was dry, causing hair to be removed. He claims the suspects sprayed a red chalk-like chemical on his clothes, arms and head, which would burn his skin.
“This child is going to have some things to deal with for years to come and, with him having a disability already, it’s very unfortunate and sad,” Blevins said. “We’re talking about something that more than likely is going to go to trial, so we’re going to meet the threshold of proving beyond a reasonable doubt. So, we want to make sure we got our ducks in a row so to speak.”
Blevins said his agency was first made aware of the allegations in February, and the 13-year-old was removed from the home but investigators needed time to build a case. Evidence collected includes alleged text messages and online conversations between Amber and Summers regarding the victim being cuffed.
Investigators said two videos were sent to Amber from Summers showing what appears to be a needle deliberately poking the victim. A male voice can be heard saying “You’re going to get hepatitis.”
The Grady County Sheriff’s Office confirms an arrest warrant has been issued for William Barnes, who the victim claims has drunkenly urinated on him while he was handcuffed. We tracked down Ren Barnes, who is his older brother and is married to Amber.
Ren told News 4 that they have been cooperative during the investigation and has never seen wrist marks on the young teen, as described by investigators.
“I did not see anything. I have not participated in anything. My wife has been by me, and I’ve even been open with our two sons,” he said. “The kids may get into arguments or this and that, and we’ve always stopped it so I don’t understand everything.”
We also confronted Ren about the videos and messages allegedly shared. He said he wasn’t at the home often but insists his wife had nothing to do with any of the alleged abuse.
“I don’t want to call the child a liar. I just think the child, from what I know and have been told, he has mental disorders, so I’m just hoping we can figure everything out,” he said. “My wife has expressed to me that she has not [done] anything. She has expressed to me that she has had nothing to do with it. She’s trying her best to cope.”
Ren said his family has retained an attorney.