Tipton pair starved, confined 5-year-old child, police say

Johnathan Parsley, left. AshLeigh Peach, right. (Provided Photo/Tipton Police Department)

TIPTON, Ind. (WISH) — Two people have been arrested after police say they starved and confined a 5-year-old who weighed only 32 pounds when authorities took him from the home.

Tipton police arrested Johnathan Parsley, 28, and AshLeigh Peach, 30, Thursday just before 3 p.m. They both face a preliminary level 3 felony charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury.

According to a release from the Tipton Police Department, the 5-year-old was one of seven children living in the house with Parsley and Peach.

Tipton police say they received an anonymous report of child abuse on June 5 wherein the caller said a child was being starved as punishment. Officers contacted the Department of Child Services (DCS), and DCS confirmed they had received the same report. On June 6 representatives with the DCS, along with Tipton police, went to a residence in the 700 block of Berryman Pike and removed the 5-year-old victim from the home, taking him to Riley Children’s Hospital to receive treatment for severe malnutrition. The other six children were later removed from the home.

According to medical staff, the 5-year-old child weighed only 32 pounds when he arrived at the hospital and was in the 1.9 percentile for weight of children his age. He stayed at Riley for eight days — until doctors determined he would recover fully from being starved.

When officers conducted a search of the children’s residence on June 7, they found “surveillance equipment used to watch for the child attempting to sneak food out of the kitchen.” The seven children shared two rooms — one fitted with a door alarm and the other with a padlock system. Police say the door alarm was used to confine the 5-year-old for extended periods.

Authorities say Parsely attempted to flee during arrest but was quickly apprehended.

The DCS would like to remind the public that “all Hoosiers are mandatory reporters. This means if anyone suspects a child is being abused or neglected they must make a report to the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-800-5556. The hotline is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week by specially trained Intake Specialists and callers can remain anonymous.”

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