BEAVERCREEK — A mother and three others identified as step-parents are facing felony charges after they were accused of beating a girl so badly with belts that she bled, according to court records.
John W. Cantrell III, Tchanavian Cantrell, Tammara Cantrell and Marquette Cantrell were each charged with felonious assault and endangering children. They are no longer in jail.
The victim told another child at school she was being abused at home and that information was relayed to school officials, which triggered the principal to notify Greene County Children’s Services on Oct. 8, according to court records.
Around the same time, Tchanavian Cantrell, the girl’s biological mother, removed her from school and told the district the girl was going to be home schooled. On Oct. 19, the girl ended up showing back at school.
“School officials questioned why she was there, as they had been told she was being home schooled, and then called her mother,” court records read. “When (the girl) learned that her mother was coming to pick her up, she ran out of the school building and into a nearby wooded area.”
Maj. Shawn Prall with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office found the girl in the wooded area and she told him she didn’t want to return home because she was being physically abused.
“This is more than any kind of punishment that was, any kid should face. this was well beyond corrective action by a parent,” Prall told News Center 7′s Molly Koweek. “She was terrified. she was running through the woods and she just looked terrified...there was obviously something going on in her life that she needed help.”
The school district said it couldn’t comment on this specific case, but did release a statement to News Center 7.
“We are proud to have a well-trained staff that deploys quick and decisive actions that are in children’s best interest in all scenarios. Our staff is trained to identify the signs of suspected child abuse and immediately report any suspected abuse to Greene County Children’s Services,” said Anaka Bushman, spokeswoman for Beavercreek schools.
When the girl was taken back to school, officers found what appeared to be a “road rash” injury, which the girl said was from being hit with a metal belt, possibly black with spike-like studs on it, court records read.
While talking with police, the girl said she was beaten at her family’s Beavercreek home by the four people who are now charged.
During an interview with Greene County Children’s Services, the girl told the caseworker the “whoopings” happened anytime something went wrong and that “all the kids get hit, except the babies.”
The girl said the four suspects “took turns hitting her with the belt approximately 200 times.” She said they “used a black belt, a metal belt, and a brown belt to beat her” and “drew a picture of a belt that was used on her which made her bleed through her pants and shirt.”
The girl also told the caseworker she ended up having rubbing alcohol sprayed on her back.
The girl was taken to the hospital, where a physician determined her injuries were determined to be “suspected physical child abuse.”
According to court records, the girl said she was beaten because her chores were not done right about two to three weeks ago and that the other children in the home were brought out to watch her get beaten with the belts.
“John told the other children that they too would be treated the same if they did not do what they were told, and this was an example,” court records read.
During the investigation, police also spoke with the victim’s grandmother, who told them she witnessed the girl and her siblings “being whipped or struck…with leather belts.” The grandmother said she had always been concerned for the girl’s safety “and had seen multiple bruises on or about her granddaughter’s body.”
Police got a search warrant for the Cantrell house that was served last week and seized belts and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol.
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