Greenfield boy reports mom forced him to beg for money at gas stations, eat from the trash

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

UPDATE (June 8, 2018) — Telisa Parrish pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent. She was sentenced to 2 years, with the bulk of the sentence suspended to probation. She’ll spend the first year of probation on home detention.

UPDATE (Dec. 21, 2017)– David Nelson pleaded guilty to neglect and did just under six months in jail. He will be out on probation for another year and is not to have contact with the children during probation.

Original story:

GREENFIELD, Ind. — A Greenfield mom and her boyfriend are facing child neglect charges after police report a boy claims he was forced to beg for money at gas stations and eat from the trash.

Telisa Parrish was arrested on charges of battery and neglect of a dependent. Her 11-year-old son told police she beat him repeatedly. Court records show Parrish threw TVs at the boy, but did not hurt him at that time. The boy reported Parrish’s boyfriend, David Nelson, would beat the boy’s young brothers, who are under the age of 10.

Court records show Parrish forced her son to go to multiple gas stations to beg for money. She would then use the money for drugs. The boy told police he didn’t always have food to eat and that he and his brothers would often dig through the trash. He also said he slept on the floor and didn’t have shampoo for the shower.

The boy told police his mom would drive high on drugs and pass out. He said she even crashed her car before with him in it. His young brother didn’t have a car seat. The boy also said he witnessed Nelson overdose.

During interviews, the Parrish’s other young children reported abuse by Nelson and said he used a belt.

This is the thirteenth case of child abuse and neglect so far this year in Hancock County. Prosecutor Brent Eaton says these cases are a top priority.

“It’s something we take very seriously. This office has worked very hard to work with law enforcement and DCS so we can bring a number of these cases,” Eaton said.

Since 2015, the county has filed 46 cases of child abuse and neglect. From 2011 to 2014, they had 34 total cases. Eaton said the numbers are on the rise.

“I don’t know that it’s necessarily true that there’s more cases of abuse, but I do think the level of cohesion with people in the community to draw attention to these cases, I think that’s contributed to us filing these cases more rapidly,” he said.

More cases aren’t always a bad thing, though, Eaton said. He said more children are feeling comfortable coming forward to report abuse. His office also added an additional lawyer to help solidify cases before bringing them to court.

“All of us together are going a better job of documenting evidence or maybe we’re able to dig a little bit more to find more evidence,” Eaton said.

In this case, court records show neighbors contacted DCS after the boy begged for food. Eaton said he encourages more neighbors, friends, or family members to come forward with suspected abuse, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time.

‘You never know, it could be the case, where because you say something, it could prevent future harm from happening and maybe help a young person who’s in a very dangerous situation,” he said.

Police are still looking for Nelson. He’s facing false informing and child neglect charges. If you know where he is, call Greenfield police.

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