Crime

Sarasota couple zip tie child for ‘stealing’ food, cops say. They face abuse charges

Recognizing signs of physical child abuse

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.
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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.

A Sarasota couple faces felony child abuse and false imprisonment charges after deputies say they routinely “zip tied” a child to a bed post at their separate homes and at the man’s work.

According to the arrest report, Adecia Johnson, 38, and Frank McKay, 41, live in separate residences and when the child was at either home, the child was restrained to a bed post at McKay’s home and on a glass sliding door at Johnson’s home.

Sarasota County sheriff’s deputies say it was a form of discipline and McKay would also discipline the child with “whoopings” using a belt or a clothes hanger.

The couple told deputies they zip tied the child because he would steal food and money. The child told investigators that money was sometimes taken to buy snacks at school because the child doesn’t get enough food.

The child stated McKay and Johnson only provided a banana, salad and two water bottles that are given twice a day while the rest of the family eats three full meals a day. Johnson told police the amount of food and items selected to give the victim is because, “the family eats healthy.”

Deputies say Johnson and McKay also limited the child’s food as a disciplinary practice.

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Sarasota deputies say a couple used zip ties to restrain and punish a child. Provided Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

Deputies describe the zip ties as being linked together like a chain, to give the child more movement and that the child is only given a piece of wood on which to sleep.

The child is “cut loose” to use the restroom, but then placed back into the “restraints,” the report states.

Deputies say when McKay caught the child stealing a piece of candy, he grabbed a “cooking ax” and made the child show its hands while he made a chopping motion, saying the child no longer needed hands.

Johnson told police she didn’t believe abuse was occurring and that the practices were a “form of punishment.”

The child told deputies he is bound every time he is left alone in either home and that it is done typically for most of the day. The child also told investigators that he most feared McKay because he has made life threatening comments like, “If I kill you, I don’t have to worry about you.”

Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
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