A case of cruel punishment was brought to authorities in Arkansas when a mother of five was exposed for purposely starving her child in a jealous rage.
KFSM reports Melissa Miranda, 33, and Josue Tovias, 28, were arrested over the weekend for the abuse of the their 8-year-old son. Tovias is the biological parent of two of Miranda’s kids, but not the victim. The couple was charged with kidnapping, permitting child abuse, second-degree domestic battery, first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, aggravated assault on a family or household member, first-degree terroristic threatening and tampering with physical evidence. Both were placed on a $50,000 bond.
After a thorough investigation, Miranda confessed to actively punishing her son by handcuffing him in their living room from 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., forcing him to sleep on a trash bag and only feeding him three times a week. Miranda admitted she would threaten to cut off her son’s fingers for eating snacks without permission. The reason behind her rage stemmed from her mother’s love of her son. Miranda said she was jealous that her mother favored the child over her.
Employees at the child’s school, as well as the boy’s older sister, helped put the case together. School administrators told police they noticed the child’s face was sunken in and he would be seen eating food from trash cans or steal food from fellow students. They also claimed the parents refused to put the child in clean clothes.
Police believe Miranda and her boyfriend began abusing the child in Nov. 2017. The sister collected recordings of her mother punishing her brother and a moment where Miranda said she wanted to “leave him outside in the cold” or get him arrested for stealing.
Fayetteville police spokesman Sgt. Anthony Murphy said they were appreciative of those who spoke out about the violence. “They could be saving someone’s life,” Murphy said. “This could still be going on if someone didn’t say something.”
Miranda said she was aware her behavior was wrong but feared she would be arrested if she confessed. The parents are expected to face a judge Feb. 28.