Family Crimes

Police: Mom Handcuffed, Starved Boy Because Grandma Loved Him More Than Her

She allegedly became upset when she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her.

A mother of five from Fayetteville, Arkansas and her boyfriend are accused of handcuffing her 8-year-old son to a chair overnight and starving him on a regular basis. They also allegedly forced the child to sleep on a trash bag at times.

Melissa Miranda, 33, and Josue Tovias, 28, were arrested on Saturday. Both have been charged with second-degree domestic battering, aggravated assault on a family member, kidnapping amongst other charges according to online records from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Miranda is pregnant with Tovias’s child. Her other four children, who range in age from 5 to 17, are now in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, according to FOX16 report. Tovias is the father of her 5-year-old child, an arrest report states.

The reason behind the abuse of the 8-year-old child? Jealousy, apparently.

Police allegedly learned that Miranda was “jealous that her mother loved the victim more […] than her mother loved her” and consequently was “singling the victim out” for bad treatment, the arrest report states.

The boy’s school began noticing a change in the child.

He had become “very thin,” according to local station KATV. “His eyes had become sunken, as had his cheeks, and his skin tone changed,” school staff members told police.

It is unclear if the mother or her boyfriend have lawyers at this point.

Police revealed that Miranda did express regret for her alleged actions, according to FOX16. She also talked about going through a rough time when the alleged abuse started. She said that she found out that Tovias cheated on her in October, which led to her getting arrested for battery. She was also allegedly arrested for possession of meth, which she blamed on Tovias.

[Photo: Washington County Police Dept.]

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