EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — The parents of a 6-year-old boy have been charged criminally after the boy told police his mother sometimes bound his arms and legs with tape to secure him to a bed in the basement of their home outside of Cleveland.
Thirty-four-year-old Earcielee Chisholm and 30-year-old Demershion Taylor, both of East Cleveland, are being held in Cuyahoga County jail on $500,000 bonds after a grand jury indicted them Wednesday on child endangering, kidnapping and domestic violence charges.
A detective’s report said the mother acknowledged having bound the boy’s wrists with duct tape, beating him with a belt and locking him in the basement for hours at a time. She also told the detective she doesn’t have the same love for the boy as she does for her other seven children.
Taylor’s attorney declined to comment Saturday. Chisholm’s attorney couldn’t be reached.
According to a police report, two women found the boy alone Oct. 8 on an East Cleveland street, eating bread and wearing nothing but a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. The boy told officers he was 4 and couldn’t provide his full name, his parents’ names or his address. He said he’d left home because he was hungry and had found a loaf of bread behind a Salvation Army store.
Officers took the boy to the East Cleveland police station where medical crews examined him. Police and medics spotted scars on his wrists and tape marks near his ankles, a report said. Scars were found on his back and two recent cuts on the back of his head.
The boy told officers about his mother taping his arms and legs together and leaving him in the basement. He said he hurt his head when he fell down the steps after his mother forced him into the basement and that his mother put tape on the cuts to stop the bleeding, the police report said.
The boy was taken to a Cleveland children’s hospital where a doctor said burn marks on his wrists were consistent with tape being tightly wound, the report said.
Officers learned the boy’s name and actual age later that day after his grandmother saw his photo on television and called police. Officers went to the boy’s home where they were met by Taylor and Chisholm. Chisholm said she had gone to work at 6 a.m. that day while Taylor told officers he’d been in bed all day with a hangover, the police report said. Both were arrested and taken to East Cleveland City Jail.
The county children and family services agency took custody of the couple’s seven other children, who range in age from 5 months to 14 years. Officers reported that no injuries were found on them.
Police searched the home and found a roll of duct tape and an air mattress on the first floor, no beds on the second floor and two air mattresses on the third floor. The basement was empty except for a table. Officers found a piece of duct tape with suspected blood there.
A detective interviewed the parents the next day. Taylor, after being shown photographs of his son’s injuries, said he had never seen those injuries before and didn’t know how the boy got them.
Chisholm told the detective she didn’t know how her son hurt his head, but acknowledged using a belt to inflict some of the older injuries. And she said she would sometimes bind her son’s wrist with duct tape and leave him in the basement for hours at a time, the detective wrote.
She said her lack of love for the boy began when she was pregnant with him and that she "does what she can to just stay away from the child and not have any contact with him," the detective wrote. He added that she began crying when she learned the county had taken custody of her other children.