Step mom & father arrested for abuse: Neighbor speaks out - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Step mom & father arrested for abuse: Neighbor speaks out

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A Lake Charles stepmother and father are facing serious charges of child abuse. 27-year-old Jaime Day and her husband, 30-year-old Murray Day were arrested after a concerned citizen led authorities knocking on the door of their south Lake Charles home.  Inside the home at 2841 Southern Ridge Drive, a Calcasieu deputy found a nine-year-old boy living like an animal. A dog leash found tied to two separate door knobs to keep him locked in his room.

Weighing only 38 pounds, the boy was found laying on a filthy foam pallet on a box spring, with a sheet saturated in blood and urine. The boy told investigators he wasn't allowed to eat with the family, but instead forced to watch them - sometimes eating his own feces and urine to survive. He also suffered hypothermia from malnutrition and second degree burns on his back from a sock that was heated up with rice. The boy was dressed in a T-shirt and wearing a diaper with multiple bruises on his face and body.  

"We are very fortunate that we are not investigating a murder case in my opinion," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso.  

The investigation reveals the majority of the alleged abuse was at the hands of the boy's stepmother Jaime Day, she's now charged with 25 counts of cruelty to a juvenile. Her bond is set at 5.5-million dollars. Her husband, Murray Day, turned himself in Tuesday evening and also faces five counts of cruelty to a juvenile. His bond is set at two million dollars.

While Sheriff Mancuso says the evidence is overwhelming, family and neighbors are still defending the couple.

"I don't believe it," said Laurie LaBauve.  

LaBauve let her grandchildren go play next door at the Day's. While she says you don't know what goes on behind closed doors, she says nothing ever made her question the safety of the children.

"What I do know is that the times that I've been over there and times that I have visited with her she's never raised her voice to her children and her children were always with her. She was a sole provider and basically their care giver," said LaBauve.  

It's now that care or lack of care - that has Jaime and Murray Day in the hot seat.

"If they would see the condition of this young boy it would make them sick to their stomach and be ashamed that we live in a country that someone would be treated like that. This is something you see in a third world country - and put your heart and soul to give money to - to help feed this kids. It was that bad," explained Sheriff Mancuso.  

Two other children - a four year old boy the couple shared and a six year old boy of Jaime Day's child adopted by Murry Day - were also taken from the home. They don't appear to have suffered any abuse. The investigation is ongoing with more arrests possible.

Officials also say this isn't the first time the boy has been abused. The Office of Child Services took away the parental rights of his mother and placed him in the home of his father six years ago. Meanwhile, officials say the child is now doing well in a foster home and has gained 17 pounds.

Copyright 2009 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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