A Utah man has been arrested on allegations of child abuse after his 6-year-old son was found chained to a bed while he was at work. Sammie Hodges, 28, was taken in Tuesday after police received an anonymous tip about the child being locked up. Around 11 a.m., responding officers found the child with his ankle chained to the bedframe.
Police Chief Gary Jensen said he doesn't know exactly how long the boy had been locked up like that. It's likely to have been since school let out for the summer -- 10 days earlier.
Agh! Stories like this make my heart ache.
Jensen also said the chain wasn't lightweight either. He said, "This is a heavy, truck chain, not a light chain ... but like what you would pull a truck down the road with ... It’s big and it’s heavy."
There was enough slack in the chain tying the boy to the bed that he could reach the bathroom across the hall, and he had been left some water and "snack-type" junk food. Police don't know how long he was there like that but determined him to be in fairly good physical health -- thank goodness.
"He appears relatively healthy, albeit that's going to mess with your head," Jensen said. "But from a physical perspective, he appears to be healthy."
Yeah, that's got to mess with your head! Do you think it's possible that if it was the dad who chained him up, he thought he was actually protecting him by not giving him free reign of the house or the ability to go outside and get hurt or lost? Childcare can be tricky in the summer, so part of me wonders if he was choosing what he thought was the lesser of two evils? Not that that excuses this atrocity in any way, but you do have to wonder what the heck he was thinking.
After the police received the 911 call, they went to the home, where no one answered. Then they went door to door to verify it was the home in question, and eventually they made their way in via an open window. I can only imagine what they felt when they saw this poor little guy.
It appears the child was living in the home with his dad and another adult woman who is not his biological mother. It's not known whether the woman had a part in the chaining or not.
The boy is now in custody of the Division of Child and Family Services, and Hodges is being held at the Cache County Jail on four counts of child abuse, a class A misdemeanor.
Jensen is grateful to the anonymous caller who tipped them off to the situation. He said that without that call, "this child would still be chained to a bed."
Do you think it's possible that someone might lock a child up like this because they think it's safer than the alternative?
Image via Dustin Gaffke/Flickr