SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Sarasota couple has been arrested for allegedly abusing a 13-year-old child by binding him to plywood and limiting the amount of food he could eat.
According to a release from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Frank McKay, 41, and his girlfriend, 38-year-old Adecia Johnson, are charged with child abuse without great bodily harm and false imprisonment. The arrest took place on 2000 black of Adams Lane Thursday, one location where the alleged abuse took place.
Deputies say on Tuesday, a video recording was given to them showing a 13-year-old boy tied to the wooden bed post of a bunk bed with zip ties that were strung together like a string to only allow for minor movement. Deputies say the child was forced to sleep on the plywood without a mattress or linens.
Deputies say both McKay and Johnson had the child tied up when he was in their homes.
On Wednesday, investigators interviewed the victim and two other children in McKay’s home.
They say the victim was zip tied to the bed for stealing food and money that the victim used to buy snacks because he was hungry. The 13-year-old boy was not given breakfast and was only given a banana, salad and two bottles of water for lunch and dinner.
The children told investigators that McKay removed the boy's mattress two months before because he had hidden items underneath it and that he limited what the boy's amount of food because of "lying and stealing."
The children also described being disciplined by McKay with a belt or hangar, describing them as “whoopings.” One told investigators that McKay threatened to chop off the 13-year-old’s hands with a “cooking axe” after the boy was caught stealing candy.
The victim told deputies that he was zip tied every time he was left alone, which would be for most of the day, and he had to sleep with the bindings on. He said he had been kept in zip ties continually since Saturday, July 13, but though he had been zip tied before, he was not sure how often it occurred before that. He told deputies that though his food was restricted, others in his family ate three meals and snacks.
Johnson was interviewed and deputies say she told them she saw the 13-year-old boy zip tied to the bed at McKay’s, but said it was punishment - not abuse. Deputies say Johnson told them the boy could reach the bathroom at McKay’s house and when he was at her house, he would be zip tied to a sliding glass door and would be released to be allowed to use the bathroom. She also told deputies she saw the boy tip tied to a pole in the dining room area of the restaurant where McKay worked.
Deputies say Johnson told them that she never zip tied the boy herself and that both she and McKay fed him healthy food, such as salad and fruit, instead of snacks.
McKay is charged with two counts of False Imprisonment and two counts of Aggravated Child Abuse; two charges are from the sheriff’s office and the other are from the Sarasota Police Department. He remains in custody without bond. McKay has more than a dozen prior arrests in Sarasota County for crimes, including Contempt of Court for Non Payment Child Support, Burglary, Possession of Cocaine, and more.
Johnson is similarly charged by the Sarasota Police Department with False Imprisonment and Aggravated Child Abuse. She remains in custody without bond.
The investigation is still ongoing. The sheriff’s office says the boy is healthy and doing okay.