A Georgia mother and her girlfriend put a 6-year-old boy in a tiny dog cage, poured syrup and cat litter on him and made him hold a brick over his head for an extended period of time, authorities said.
According to the Douglas County Sentinel, Crystal Jean Hostetter, 24, and her girlfriend Sarah Elizabeth McClain, told officials they were simply disciplining the child. Hostetter has been charged with felony cruelty to children and McClain is charged with cruelty to children and reckless conduct.
The two women apparently exploited the child's psychological issues to torment him for two hours last Saturday.
"He doesn’t like anything that’s sticky. It just bothers him and the mother knows this," Douglasville police sergeant Todd Garner told the Sentinel. "She said that’s why they coated his hands and feet with syrup and put cat litter on him because as she said, ‘I knew it would bother him.’"
During the abuse, the child was asking the women, "Do you all love me?" At other times, he pleaded, "Please don't kill me."
Police say witnesses heard the child screaming and reported the incident to the school.
“This extreme form of discipline was conducted on Saturday evening where witnesses saw this taking place and notified the school on Monday that they thought this was extreme and actually heard the child screaming ... as they were pouring syrup on him and put him in the dog cage,” Garner said.
[sharequote align="center"]"[W]itnesses ... heard the child screaming ... as they were pouring syrup on him and put him in the dog cage."[/sharequote]
When a Division of Family and Children Services employee visited the home Monday, the two women apparently admitted to the alleged crimes, the Sentinel reported.
At a hearing on Thursday, a judge denied the two women bond, keeping them locked up in a set of their own cages for now. The child is in custody of the DFCS.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter