Cops: Family Banished Teen for Eating Pop-Tart

SC couple allegedly sent teen to live in tent
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2015 2:45 AM CDT
Cops: Family Banished Teen for Eating Pop-Tart
The Driggerses crossed the line into criminal punishment, cops say.   (Sumter County Sheriff's Office)

A 14-year-old girl who ate an unauthorized Pop-Tart found herself banished to the woods for a week with only a tent, a roll of toilet paper, a flashlight, and a watch, police say. James Driggers, 33, and Crystal Driggers, 36, of Dalzell, SC, were arrested Friday and have been charged with unlawful neglect for their treatment of the teen, NBC News reports. Investigators say the couple sent the girl to wild, hog-infested woods more than a quarter of a mile away from their home, telling her to appear at a fence at certain times to get food (a can of SpaghettiOs was apparently delivered at one point). She was left to fend for herself even when violent thunderstorms rolled through the area Thursday night, reports the State. The girl's grandmother intervened, and police got involved—only to find the girl back in the tent the next day, according to an arrest report seen by the Daily Beast.

A police spokesman tells the Daily Beast that the tent exile appears to be part of a pattern of "excessive punishment for small household offenses," and that the 14-year-old girl had recently been ordered to stay outside from 8am to 6am doing yardwork in a heat wave and told not to enter the house even to use the bathroom or drink water. The Daily Beast reports the teen also told law enforcement that she was forced to go to a salon to have her hair cut short after she ate a protein bar. The girl is now in the custody of the state Department of Social Services, while four siblings who lived at the home are now with their grandparents, NBC reports. (In Maryland, a boy who was beaten for taking a piece of birthday cake without permission has died.)

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