LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A Lakeland man and woman are accused of a disturbing crime against a girl that involved duct tape and a stun gun.
Yalonda Ashley, 36, and Steven Sanchez, 31, are charged with child abuse.
Ashley is accused of duct taping a child’s hands together and placing a piece of tape over the girl’s mouth for several minutes. Detectives say the child was being disciplined for fighting back when her siblings were pushing her around. Ashley allegedly bound the child’s wrist with duct tape, preventing the movement of her hands.
Ashley said she did this to “teach her a lesson to keep her hands and feet to herself,” according to an arrest affidavit.
In one instance, while the parents were doing contract work for the Lakeland Ledger newspaper in Bartow, they brought the 10-year-old girl to work with them. That’s when a co-worker witnessed the alleged abuse.
Detectives interviewed the girl who said Ashley bound her wrist and placed tape over her mouth.
The girl said the tape was removed by Steven Sanchez. She told detectives that Ashley and Sanchez were aware she was bound in duct tape for several minutes.
Deputies say Sanchez also used a stun gun to scare the girl and other children at the home. The girl told detectives that she and other children were cleaning the home when Sanchez used the stun gun on her bottom. The girl said the stun gun hurt.
The other children ran away from Sanchez and were not touched by the stun gun.
“Her hands were duct taped together because she was using her hands to hit other kids, so they duct taped her hands together and thats when the witness saw that,” Carrie Horstman with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said. “She had no complaints about the duct tape, but when we started to interview her and the other children about discipline in general, the victim and the other children disclosed the child had been Tased earlier in the week as part of discipline.”
News Channel 8 talked with the dad’s mother.
“It saddens me. It actually makes me cry. My son is not a monster. He is a good dad,” Joanne Duncan said about Steven Sanchez.
Duncan went on to say her granddaughter can be unruly at times, but she doesn’t believe her son would ever harm his daughter.
“This child had problems and he tried, he begged and he cried asking for help and nobody wanted to help him,” she said.