GARRETT, Ind. – Officials in Indiana say a teenage babysitter and his friends put a 3-year-old girl in a washer and then a dryer – and turned the machines on. Police in Garrett, Indiana took a juvenile into custody.
The victim’s family members took to Facebook to share their story, and #JusticeForRaelyn started trending on social media. A post from the victim’s aunt has been shared more than 180,000 times.
“She’s my niece,” the aunt, Madison Camp, said. “She’s like everything to me. She’s literally like my life. I love her so much. I just want her to have the clarity she deserves.”
DeKalb County Prosecutor Claramary Winebrenner said two young children were left in the care of a 14-year old babysitter. Some of the babysitter’s friends joined them, and at some point, one or more of the teenagers placed the 3-year-old victim in a washing machine and then into a dryer, officials said. One of the teenagers turned the dryer on several times, and the young child sustained bruises all over her body, according to the officials.
The teenagers allegedly imitated a YouTube video in which an animal was cruelly placed in a washer or dryer.
Mom shares the story
Missy Camp said it’s her 3-year old daughter, Raelyn, who was put into their washer and dryer.
On June 2 Camp left Raelyn and her 5-year-old daughter in the care of a longtime family friend, the 14-year-old boy, while she went to spend time with her family, the mom explained. Camp said the boy had babysat her daughters before.
When picked the girls up the next day, she found bruises all over Raelyn’s body.
“It’s hard to explain,” Camp said. “I go home; I’m upset, but at the same time I feel like I can’t really sit and cry and I need to keep both of my kids happy, not as depressed about it.”
She said her apartment was also trashed. Two of her toilets, her TV and a window had been broken. Food and pop cans were everywhere. Drugs, such as Xanax, were on the floor, Camp said.
The mom said her 5-year-old daughter told her what happened. She told her mother the babysitter invited three of his friends over. Camp said she has been told by other sources that the four boys were drinking.
According to Raelyn’s sister, the boys turned the washer on until it was filled with water and then put Raelyn in it. They also put her in the dryer, the sister said.
The babysitter allegedly told Missy Camp he took Raelyn to the park and she fell off a merry-go-round.
Possible sexual abuse
Camp said a doctor told them there are also possible signs of sexual abuse. She said child services will soon help test Raelyn for rape.
She said Raelyn has not been the same since the weekend.
“She’s quiet,” Camp said. “Like usually she’s very hyper, running around, going crazy and all that but lately she just kind of wants to sit on the couch and cuddle. She doesn’t eat as much.”
Camp wants justice. “My first goal is to just get one to break down and just kind of admit or say who did it and from there press charges and hopefully they get what they deserve,” she said.
Police talk about investigation
Garrett Police Department Chief Roland McPherson said detectives have been investigating the case since receiving the police report Sunday. He said it’s unfortunate people are going on Facebook to discuss the situation before all the facts have been truly represented.
Detectives started interviews about the case Thursday morning and by evening had detained the juvenile in relation to the case. Charges are pending.
Officers are working with DeKalb County Department of Child Services, DeKalb County Probation Department and the DeKalb Prosecutor’s Office.
The county prosecutor, Claramary Winebrenner, said certain incorrect and dangerous allegations appear to be spreading at a rapid rate on Facebook and other social media, and such inaccurate information must be addressed.
She said that it’s not true that “nothing can be done because the alleged perpetrators are juveniles.” That claim is apparently on social media.
The prosecutor also challenged a statement that said, “One of the special protections of the juvenile code is that the identity of juvenile offenders is confidential.” She cautioned people against spreading or believing information from social media that has not been verified.
Winebrenner also said it’s risky to let certain videos, with abuse or dangerous experiments, to remain on YouTube.