FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX/Gray News) – An Ohio convenience store worker is credited with saving a teenage boy from alleged abuse by his stepfather after acknowledging the girl’s injuries during an encounter last month.
Rebecca Austin works at the Hamilton Quick Mart, where the teenager went on August 15 or 16, according to Fairfield Township police.
Austin said the teenager walked into the store “dazed and confused”, walked around a bit and approached the counter. She only had a dollar in her pocket, Austin said. The girl asked if there was anything she could buy with it.
When Austin looked up, she said she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“She had all these marks and bruises,” Austin explained. “We first thought she had a choker that the kids wore, but it was a bruise from the ties he used on her.”
Austin let the girl keep her money. She then gave her a sandwich and a soda before approaching her to ask who had hurt her.
“She said, ‘Nobody, I fell down a hill,'” Austin recalled.
Immediately, she knew it was a lie, as the blood vessels in the girl’s eyes were burst and her face was bruised.
“She looked bad,” Austin said.
Fairfield Township police later confirmed that the teenager had injuries to her eyes, neck and wrists as well as burns to her palms.
Eventually, Austin took the teenager outside, where she became visibly anxious.
“She kept saying, ‘If my stepdad comes by, he’ll see me and make me leave,'” Austin said. “I said, ‘Nobody’s going to make you leave.'”
The teenager was shaking, Austin recalled. Then she told Austin some things her family members had supposedly told her, a combination of threats and alleged lies to keep her from running away.
“If she called the cops, they [the police] would be mean to her,” Austin said. “They didn’t want to help him. And if she went into foster care, they would have to kill a child to get her there.
Austin managed to calm the teenager down and called 911.
The situation came to light on Wednesday, a month after the teenager’s stepfather, James Evans, admitted to police that he bound her feet with a ratchet strap and tied her to a bed.
According to a police body camera recording obtained by WXIX, Evans claimed he did so because the girl allegedly threatened to kill him and the girl’s mother and stepfather.
He said he woke up to the teenager standing over his head with a kitchen knife. It is unclear when this would have happened, but the officer deduced it had happened the previous night and asked if Evans had called the police. Evans replied no.
He told the officer that the ties were meant to prevent the girl from running away. He also vaguely mentioned their hope that she would see a counselor.
Police say Sarah Evans, the teenager’s mother, released her at least once to use the bathroom, but then tied her up.
It is unclear whether the alleged abuse occurred on more than one occasion, or how the girl escaped and came to the convenience store.
EMS transported her to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Liberty Township due to the severity of her injuries. She currently works with Children’s Services.
Police arrested James Evans immediately after his admission on August 16. They said other children were also removed from the Evans’ home.
The teenager’s step-grandfather, Robert Evans, is also said to have been aware of the abusive situation.
“If you are a parent or guardian and you know that a child in your care is being abused, and you do nothing, you could easily be subject to criminal liability and charged for it,” he said. explained the Fairfield police sergeant. Brandon McCroskey. “I’ve had a few instances myself where this has happened, this being one of them.”
The three adults face 14 criminal charges in total, including kidnapping and child endangerment.
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