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Ohio couple arrested, charged with abuse

July 12, 2012 at 7:35 PM   |   Comments

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio, July 12 (UPI) -- Authorities say an Ohio woman put duct tape over the eyes of her 12-year-old stepdaughter and locked her in a basement for more than two weeks.

An anonymous tip led police to the house in Middletown, were the girl was found in the basement July 3, WKRC-TV, Cincinnati, reported Thursday.

The discovery led to the arrests of her father, Shawn Blackston, and stepmother, Joanna Blackston, on charges of kidnapping and child endangering, police said.

The girl, whose name was not reported, had scars on her back, arms and legs from what she told authorities was previous abuse. The unfinished basement she was found in was furnished with a bed without sheets and a light bulb on a string.

The girl told authorities she was put in the room as a punishment.

"If she wanted to use restroom, she had to get parents attention to let her out to go to restroom," said Butler County Children Services.

Other alleged punishment included the girl's stepmother putting duct tape over her eyes and tying her arms behind her back. The girl hadn't brushed her teeth in six months because her toothbrush was taken away, the report said.

The girl and her five siblings have been removed from the home and placed in foster care.

Joanna Blackston was released on bond.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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