In Cleveland police arrested a couple early recently after finding their 8-year-old boy tied to a coffee table with his nose broken. Andreia Huffman, 37, and her husband, Jason Dunikowski, 32, were jailed as detectives investigated them for domestic violence and child endangerment. There were nine children, ages 3 to 17, in the house.
Officers arrived at the house on East 50th Street and found the 8-year-old on the floor. His hands and feet were bound behind his back with duct tape, and a shoelace was around his neck and feet tied him to the table.
Huffman was sleeping in a bed near the child, and Dunikowski was sleeping on a couch next to the table, police said. Officers found severe discoloration on the boy’s hands,indicating he may have been tied up for a long time. Police also found bruises on his hands and feet and his nose was broken, he added.
The 8-year-old appeared to have been beaten daily, said Deborah Forkas, director of the Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.
The boy who called police told The Plain Dealer that he needed to take action after witnessing the incidents in the house. He said the family came to Cleveland about six years ago from Kentucky. “I couldn’t deal with it anymore,” he said in a telephone interview from the lobby of a social service agency.
according to the police report; This is what took place when officers came to the house:
Huffman told officers that her 17-year-old daughter tied up the boy. One of the other children then told officers that Huffman makes the older child tie the boy and slam his head into a wall.
I am not the only one who does it,” Huffman yelled, “and I’m not the only one that’s going to get in trouble.
Dunikowski, father of the five youngest children, said that he knew about the child being restrained. The 15-year-old urged Dunikowski to confess what he does to the boy.
“You did it, too,” Huffman yelled.
The 15-year-old said that Huffman repeatedly smashed the 8-year-old’s face into the wall and pointed to a crack in the wall. An officer had the boy stand next to the crack and determined the crack matched up precisely to his face.
A police supervisor asked Huffman why she didn’t take the child to the hospital:
“Just because I didn’t,” she replied.
The 8-year-old boy then tugged on an officer’s pant leg and pointed to a piece of wood wrapped with tape.
“They hit me with that,” the boy told officers.
Another child confirmed it. Officers then handcuffed Huffman and Dunikowski.
The other eight children did not have visible injuries. Social workers took custody of the kids — two girls and seven boys — and doctors evaluated them.
Huffman’s mother, Betty, said she was not surprised by the allegations and is glad her daughter is in jail.
“That’s good,” Betty Huffman said from Kentucky. “Please don’t let her get those kids back.”
I’m speechless. Thank God for that 15 year old for calling the authorities on his “parents” for abusing his younger sibling. He’s a hero in my book. I know alot of older siblings out there have witnessed or are witnessing their siblings being mistreated/abused by parents or other relatives. If you stay silent, that will not help matters, do the right thing and pick up the phone to report it or tell a trusted adult that can help.