INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A Tipton couple is behind bars after police say they starved a 5-year-old child, and even installing surveillance cameras in the kitchen to make sure he was not able to eat.
Police say 30-year-old Ashleigh Peach and her boyfriend, 28-year-old John Parsley, abused Parsley’s 5-year-old son. The child lived with the couple for about six months. Police say Peach and Parsley reportedly starved, beat, and locked him away in an upstairs bedroom.
CBS 4 talked to Peach from jail. Peach claims the reports aren't true and even goes as far as the call the child a liar.
"We were trying to help these kids, not hurt them. Obviously," explains Ashleigh Peach, child abuse suspect.
When CBS 4 asked Peach about the cameras and locks, she denied both allegations.
"It's just absurd how people can just sit and listen to this crap, like padlocks? Not a single padlock was in my home, but they're going to listen to a 5-year-old," explains Peach.
It is the worst case of child abuse Tipton Police officer Brad Robbins says he has ever seen.
“It did not happen overnight. It has been going on for a while,” said Robbins.
Doctors say the child only weighed about 30 pounds when he was found and was severely malnourished.
“I’m sick to my stomach, very sad, and devastated,” said Tipton Police officer Brad Robbins.
There were six other kids living at the home. Officials say those kids were in good health. According to court papers, some of those children told investigators the 5-year-old was always in trouble, forced to sleep on the floor, and even ate animal feces because he was hungry.
“I have personally played with the Play-Doh and Legos with this little boy. He is a very sweet child and is very bright. He has just been abused,” said Robbins.
Investigators claim the children were told they could hit, punch, and kick the boy if he tried to eat the other kids' food or steal their blankets.
"That's just absurd, just ridiculous. Once again you're listening to a 5-year-old that has issues, just keep that in mind," explains Peach.
When CBS 4 asked Peach if she felt bad for the boy, she said, "I do (pause) and I don't. I mean, I do beacause apparently he was, the reports say, malnourished but at the same time I don't because I see his lies," explains Peach.
Peach and Parsley are behind bars at the Tipton County Jail facing felony charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury. There were two other adults living in the home at the time of the alleged abuse, and both have been interviewed by police. The information from those interviews is now in the hands of the Tipton County Prosecutor, who must choose whether to file more charges.