Boy running away from home leads police to suspected abuse case

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A Wichita Falls woman faces at least two counts of child abuse after police found 4 children with marks or injuries on their stomachs, arms or backs and one child who appeared malnourished.

Sharon Vaughn was arrested Wednesday, December 8, on two charges of injury to a child.

An investigation by the WFPD Crimes Against Children Unit began after a patrol officer found a 12-year-old boy walking near 15th and Travis carrying a pillow and a backpack. Officers said he was very small and appeared malnourished.

The boy told officers he was running away from his home on Paradise Street because his mother hit him on his back with a cable cord. Police said he had numerous fresh injuries on his back and arms, and he was taken to the hospital.

Investigators learned the boy had four siblings aged 6, 8, 9 and 10 and obtained a search warrant for their home.

They said three of the four had marks on their stomachs from what appeared to be a belt. The children told officers their mother had whipped them with a cable cord after dipping it in water, and she also used a belt and washing machine hose to whip them if they did not do their chores.

Police conducted an interview of Vaughn, who said the 12-year-old has two siblings, age 8 and 9, and their biological mother is in and out of jail, so she adopted the three children, but referred to them as her “cousins.”

She said the 12-year-old’s injuries were self-inflicted and denied ever hitting the children.

Police said she claimed the only punishment she used when they got in trouble was “wall chairs” – forcing them to lean against a wall in a sitting position, which causes pain in the extremities after an extended period.

Officers said they interviewed two other adults that live in the home, and they said when the children acted up, Vaughn would make them pull their pants down and whip them with a belt.

The 9-year-old girl told police she had gotten in trouble the night before for not doing her chores. Redness and bruising was found on her upper left arm and appeared similar to the injuries on the 12-year-old.

The girl said that when using a belt, Vaughn usually hit them in the arms and legs.

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