A Beverly woman was arrested for child abuse Wednesday after she allegedly struck her child with a plastic coat hanger until it broke.
Senior Trooper S.E. Hevener with the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police charged Shaunna Yokum, 29, with child abuse causing injury, a felony.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court, on Tuesday, a child under 7 years of age told a Randolph County school employee "that her mother had struck her with a coat hanger until it broke."
The child said her mother, Yokum, had then locked her in her room for 30 minutes until her father came home. The employee informed Child Protective Services that there were "visible marks on (the child's) left and right arms and welts are apparent," according to the complaint.
Upon interviewing the child, a CPS worker observed bruising on the child's right and left arms. The child told the CPS worker that her mother struck her with a coat hanger and has previously hit her with a belt, according to the complaint.
Based on information from CPS, Hevener executed a search warrant on Yokum's residence at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when she was the only person home. When Hevener went into the child's bedroom, Yokum reportedly asked him, "What are you looking for, the coat hanger?" and informed him she'd placed it in the trash.
Yokum then retrieved a white "J-shaped" piece of a plastic coat hanger from a trash can in the kitchen and handed it to Hevener. Hevener subsequently escorted Yokum to the Elkins detachment of the WVSP.
During the digitally recorded interview that ensued at the state police barracks, Yokum testified that the child had been jumping on the couch and had "talked back to her," the complaint states. Yokum said she smacked her child, grabbed the child by the elbow and took the child into her bedroom.
The child then allegedly began throwing things at her and Yokum approached the child with the intent to remove the "things" from her hands, according to the report.
"The suspect (Yokum) advised the hanger was right there and it was a 'knee-jerk' option to smack her with the hanger," Hevener wrote in the complaint. "(Yokum) advised (the child) began trying to hit and kick again so she smacked her again with the hanger."
Yokum told Hevener the child "didn't know what was going on" and was "probably loving the attention this incident is producing."
"The suspect (Yokum) advised when her daughter talks back and makes bad comments to her, it hurts her feelings," Hevener stated in the report.
Magistrate Rob Elbon set bond at $50,0000 cash only.
The penalty for a conviction of child abuse resulting in injury is a fine between $100 and $1,000, imprisonment for one to five years in the state penitentiary, or in the discretion of the court, a term in the regional jail for not more than one year.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.