Girl Sleeps Outside - Parents Arrested

9-23-04 - Police in Ardmore are making some unusual allegations of child abuse. They claim a husband and wife forced a 10-year-old girl to sleep outside with the family dog.

Charles Smith and Engrid Leverett were charged last Friday with felony child abuse. Police say they forced Smith’s daughter to sleep outside on top of a storm shelter as punishment for lying.

Police learned of the case after the girl complained to a school counselor at Franklin Elementary. The girl was suffering from several bug bites. She claimed that her stepmother grabbed her by the hair and swung her into a doorframe. She also told police her parents forced her to eat a spoonful of hot peppers and then made her sleep outside. Investigators say it’s an example of parents crossing the line in trying to discipline their children.

State authorities also took custody of five children from the - ranging in age from eight months to ten-years-old.

Engred Leverett told First News that the entire situation is being blown out of proportion, and that she and her husband are determined to get their children back.