Mother, Boyfriend Arrested for Child Cruelty

FORT OGLETHORPE, Ga. (AP) _ Authorities in north Georgia arrested a woman and her boyfriend on child cruelty charges after the woman's 9-year-old son was found bound and gagged with duct tape in a closet.

Fort Oglethorpe police arrested the two Wednesday after the apartment manager and an exterminator reported finding the boy in a
closet at the Battlewood Apartments public housing complex.

The boy's mother, 36-year-old Kristi Dawn Walker, and 23-year-old Brandon Patrick Barbree are charged with cruelty to children and false imprisonment. They were taken to the Catoosa County Jail.

Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief Larry Black says the apartment's
tenants at first would not allow the apartment manager and the exterminator inside, but he said they complied after they were told pest inspections were part of their lease obligation.

The chief says the tenants also tried to block the exterminator from the closet.

Police say the closet where the boy was held is small, but that the boy was in good shape and appeared healthy. Detective Patrick Mason says the boy had been sent home from school for disciplinary reasons and the couple put him in the closet to punish him.

The boy is in the custody of child welfare officials.

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