Deputies say 9-year-old was starved and handcuffed, suspects plead not guilty

Deputies say 9-year-old was starved and handcuffed, suspects plead not guilty
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Joel Smith, Amanda Smith, Allison Smith

Update: All three suspects have pleaded not guilty in court. A judge set Joel and Amanda’s bonds at $250,000 each and Allison’s bond at $20,000. They are each scheduled for a bond reduction hearing on April 26th.

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A northeast Oklahoma couple and their daughter are charged with neglect and child abuse. Investigators say they beat, handcuffed and starved a 9-year-old girl.

Mayes County deputies were called to the home in early April about a missing child. But there was more to the story.

“During the course of the investigation, they discovered that there was a little bit more to it than basically a runaway,” said Howell.

Joel Smith, Amanda Smith, and their daughter Allison were arrested in Newton County, Missouri and charged with child neglect and child abuse. They have been extradited back to Oklahoma.

Court documents state when deputies found the 9-year-old victim she told them she didn’t want to go home because the people there were mean to her.

The girl told deputies she was only fed once a day and wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom. According to documents, she said she was forced to wear a diaper.

Authorities say the victim said she would dig in the trash for food and eat dog food, so the Smith’s handcuffed her leg inside a “Pack n Play” so she couldn’t go anywhere at night.

The allegations continued. The girl told deputies she was beaten with a belt and hard plastic stick.

“With this many allegations, I mean, it strikes a chord. It really does,” said Howell. “Someone’s gotta be a voice for these children, someone’s gotta advocate for those children.”

Authorities felt the girl needed to be removed from the home. According to CBS affiliate News on 6, doctors say while her body is healing, she will need trauma therapy.

A neighbor says the victim was so small, they thought she was much younger.

Investigators say Joel Smith is the girl’s biological uncle. He and his wife Amanda were the girl’s guardians. Allison is not the victim’s mother.

Prosecutors have filed charges of child neglect and child abuse against all three. They are scheduled to appear in Mayes County Court on April 24th, 2019.

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