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W.Va. couple charged with child abuse

February 19, 2002

W.Va. couple charged with child abuse



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


GERRARDSTOWN, W.Va. - A Gerrardstown couple has been charged with child abuse after their daughter was allegedly locked in a closet in their home last year, court records said.

The 14-year-old girl also told West Virginia State Police that her father cut her between her toes as punishment for various situations, including telling other family members about the abuse, Berkeley County Magistrate Court records alleged.

Paul E. Weaver, 37, and Diana Kelbaugh, 38, both of 1 Bristol Drive, each were charged with child abuse last Tuesday and released on personal recognizance bonds, court records said.

The couple's daughter told Trooper M.M. Kingery that she overheard a telephone conversation between her mother and father before Thanksgiving in which her father talked about punishing the girl by putting her in a closet, court records said.

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The girl ran away from home for about a week and ended up at an aunt's house in Maryland, court records said.

The girl was turned over to her father and taken home, court records said.

That evening, the girl was subjected to a strip search by her mother, court records said.

The girl told police that she was mainly being searched for recording devices, court records said.

Some gifts that were given to the girl by her aunt were taken away and she was forced to stand in a corner until midnight without eating dinner, court records said.

The girl's father grabbed her by the hair and made her clean everything out of her closet, then the girl was locked in the closet, court records alleged.

The girl escaped from the closet the next morning after dislodging a gate that was used to block the closet door, court records said.

State Department of Health and Human Resources officials removed the girl from her home after she made the complaint to state police on Nov. 25, Kingery said.

A 3-year-old daughter of the couple was also removed from the home, Kingery said.

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