A 10-year-old girl in upstate New York is reportedly safe after allegedly being physically beaten and tortured at the hands of four adults, including her mother, according to multiple reports.
Leslieann Raeder, 34, was arrested by Oswego County police and charged with endangering the welfare of a child after the bruised and malnourished girl escaped her home in Albion, New York, on Wednesday and showed up at a neighbors house begging for help, The Palladium Times reported.
Shawn Whaley, 23, Brandy Shaver, 18 and Gary Bubis, 37, (pictured above) were also arrested and charged with second-degree assault. Bubis had a relationship with the girl’s mother, CNYCentral reported, while Shaver, Bubis’ sister, is reportedly in a relationship with Whaley.
Police are reportedly calling it the worst case of child abuse they’ve seen.
According to investigators, the unnamed girl had allegedlt been the target of beatings since April. “This was as a result of discipline and trying to make her behave,” Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan told CNYCentral.
“Frankly all we can get right now is that her offenses amounted to sneaking food, trying to get food; trying to do things that kids do,” he said.
Authorities say the girl was allegedly repeatedly kicked and beaten for months with both open hands and closed fists, CNYCentral reported, and was allegedly forced to work outside all day without water or access to a bathroom.
She was also allegedly denied regular meals, deputies said according to the outlet — allegedly only being allowed one meal a day, which was doused heavily in hot sauce.
Whaley had allegedly once kicked her in the crotch while he was wearing boots, the girl claimed to sheriff deputies per CNYCentral. She said she immediately cried in pain, only angering him more, the outlet reported.
Another alleged incident occurred at Happy Valley Game Management Park, CNYCentral reported, where the victim was forced to run with a weighted backpacked while being followed by a vehicle that would hit her if she ran too slow.
“When she physically couldn’t continue, they tied a rope around her waist, tied that same rope to the bumper of the car and began to pull her along,” Sullivan said, WETM-TV reported. “When she would drop, they would continue to drive and she’d end up getting dragged.”
“This whole thing is just awful,” Sullivan told CNYCentral. “I’ve been talking about it all day and still can’t wrap my brain around it.”
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Reader, Whaley, Shavery and Bubis were said to be asleep on Wednesday morning when the victim finally escaped, The Palladium Times reported.
“She was crying, she had tears running down her face, she was all dirty, she hasn’t had a shower in two weeks,” neighbor Autumn Lee Butchino, who found the girl in her driveway, told WETM-TV.
A 3-year-old also lived at the home and is safe elsewhere with family members, deputies told CNYCentral. The child had burn marks on its hand after Bubis’ allegedly forced its hand into a container of hot water, according to the outlet.
A Williamstown judge issued an order of protection barring the defendants from any contact with the alleged victims, The Palladium Times reported. Bubis, Whalen, and Shaver were all remanded to the Oswego County Correctional Facility on Friday in lieu of $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond while Raeder was released on her own recognizance. It is not known if they have entered a plea or retained attorneys.
A court date is set for Whaley and Shaver on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m., The Palladium Times reported. Bubis is due in Albion Town Court Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. while Raeder’s court date is not yet known.
The Oswego County police did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.