Report: Girl who was zip-tied to bed thought her name was 'idiot'

Clarence Reed (L) and Jennifer Denen (R) were arrested on charges of child abuse. (Courtesy: Garland Co. Sheriff's Office)

A Hot Springs couple is behind bars after police say they zip-tied a girl to her bed and used a wooden paddle to punish her. The case was referred to police by the Arkansas Department of Human Services and Child Advocacy Center.

Jennifer Denen and her live-in boyfriend, Clarence Reed, both face charges of domestic battery, permitting the abuse of a minor, and endangering the welfare of a minor.

According to the Hot Springs Police Department report, officers were called to Mercy Child Advocacy Center on August 12 about an abuse case.

A DHS employee and staff at the advocacy center met with officers, and said that a 4-year-old girl had been brought in to be examined for numerous injuries.

The girl reportedly had "deep purple bruising on her buttocks, lower back, and legs, a blackened eye, a swollen right cheek, a bruise on her forehead, healing scars across her back, and dried blood in the corner of her mouth."

She was also malnourished, and had marks on her wrist that indicated she had been restrained.

When police asked the girl what her name was, she responded, "idiot," according to the report. Another child living in the home reportedly told police that the girl had been tied up and was called "idiot" instead of her name.

Denen and Reed were at the center, and police took them to the Hot Springs Police Department for questioning.

Police interviewed Denen, and she said he had seen Reed hit the girl on her buttocks with a plastic bat. She said she was told by another child that Reed had tied her to a chair using a zip-tie.

She also told police she heard Reed call the child "idiot" on "a regular basis".

Police then spoke with Reed, and the police report states he acknowledged hitting the girl on her buttocks, but said he used a wooden paddle that was a half-inch thick.

He also reportedly admitted to using zip-ties to tie the girl to her bed as punishment for climbing the cabinets in the kitchen.

Reed said he did call the girl "idiot," but said "he did it in jest," according to the report.

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