Police in Pennsylvania say they arrested and charged two people with multiple felonies after finding children handcuffed in the back seat of their car in Allegheny County.
White Oak police responded to a call Wednesday afternoon at Francis McClure Elementary School, about 10 miles southeast of downtown Pittsburgh, where staff members reported that an 11-year-old child was unwilling to get into his father’s car after dismissal.
“When school officials looked inside the father’s vehicle, they noticed that the father was accompanied by an adult female passenger, and two children … were handcuffed in the back seat,” Allegheny County, whose police department aided in the investigation, said in a statement.
The statement said the children handcuffed in the car were ages 7 and 10.
“Both adults were detained and identified as 37-year-old Richard Hayes of Mt. Oliver and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Natosha Bell of Rankin. Hayes was found in possession of a loaded handgun,” the statement said.
The two were charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of children, among other counts, police said.
Police said the children described an extremely abusive home life for which they found corroborating evidence.
The handcuffed children shared a mother; the 11-year-old outside the car was the sibling of the 10-year-old in the car through their father, Hayes, police said.
Judge James A. Motznik denied bail for Hayes at an arraignment Thursday morning because he is “a danger to victims,” court documents say.
Judge Mik Pappas set Bell’s bail at $50,000, court documents show.
Neither Hayes nor Bell requested a public defender, and it is unclear whether they have legal representation.