An Oklahoma man and woman facing felony child abuse charges were both given bond on Wednesday, despite allegations of torturing and beating a 10-year-old girl.
McAlester News-Capital reports that Ashley Schardein, 24, and Billy James Menees, 27, are facing numerous charges related to alleged child abuse that lasted over a span of at least a month, prosecutors said.
According to court documents filed at the Pittsburg County Courthouse, the suspects violently beat and starved Menees’ daughter. Authorities began investigating when a tipster contacted the Oklahoma Department of Health Services, after seeing bruises on the child. Another family member reportedly contacted DHS twice to report child abuse.
The suspects reportedly punished the child “with emotional and verbal abuse, physical abuse, including spanking, tying her hands and feet for long periods of time, shaving her head, not allowing her to use the restroom,” court documents read.
The pair is also accused of forcing the child to sleep on concrete with no pillow or blanket, inside a cold room. Prosecutors said the suspects also fed the girl oatmeal or spinach only and made her “stand up for painfully long periods of time during the day, sometimes in wet clothing under a cold fan.”
News on 6 reporter Lori Fullbright, who obtained the arrest affidavit, added on Facebook that Schardein would eat snacks while the little girl sat nearby. When the child cried in hunger, Schardein allegedly told her to “shut up.”
The victim added that she had not eaten meat in so long, she had forgotten what it tasted like.
The child also told police, in part, that:
- Schardein would unplug the security camera and “slings her around the room.”
- Schardein threatened to “beat her with a stick until she’s dead.”
- Schardein split her lip open and hit her in the stomach.
- Menees punched her with his fists and grabbed her to the point that she couldn’t breathe.
- The suspects made her sleep in wet clothes after forcing her to take cold showers.
- The suspects called her a “monster” and accused her of sexually assaulting her sister.
After authorities arrested the suspects, several other children who lived in the home were removed and placed in the care of DHS.
“It’s about a little girl who was not just abused once or twice,” Assistant DA Michon Hastings-Hughes said. “But has been beaten to a pulp for at least a month, if not more. She was tortured and made to look like she just got out of Auschwitz.”
During the suspects’ arraignment on Wednesday, lawyer Brecken Wagner argued that Menees and Schardein, who is seven months pregnant, wouldn’t be a threat to the public if released on bond.
Video of the arrest of Billy James Menees and Ashley Dawn Marie Schardeni.
The two are accused of torturing a 10-year-old girl for months.
— Derrick James (@dljames0001) May 20, 2020
Both suspects were given a bond amount of $100,00 each. They are not required to wear GPS monitoring. They’ve both been charged with child abuse by torture, four counts of child abuse, and kidnapping.
Schardein was transported to the hospital following the bond hearing. Her attorney said she was going into labor.
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[Feature Photo: Police Handout]