Two charged in child abuse case

Charlotte Sun (Port Charlotte, FL) – Wednesday, May 9, 2013

Capps

Capps

PORT CHARLOTTE — A mother and her live- in boyfriend were arrested Wednesday and charged with abusing the woman’s two children , a boy, 13, and a girl, 9, according to a Charlotte County Sheriff’s report.

Linda Mae Capps, 34, of the 2300 block of Gimlet Street, Port Charlotte; and Manuel Vincente Antuna, 37, who the CCSO lists as having a North Fort Myers address, although he reportedly lives with Capps, both face two counts of child abuse without great harm, after they allegedly beat the children with a belt on several occasions and punished them by making them hold cans with their arms raised for several hours at a time.

The children lived with their mother and Antuna during the week and traveled to Riverview, Fla., on the weekends to stay with their father. On April 7, they were taken to South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center, Fla., after their father found bruises on their buttocks and legs, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Bowe.

Antuna

Antuna

A doctor believed the injuries were the result of child abuse , and contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, according to the report. The children were placed into their father’s custody.

During a forensic interview with CCSO detectives on April 11, the two children said Antuna often hit them with a black leather belt with metal-rimmed holes, a report states. They reportedly said their mother allowed the abuse to occur.

The boy sustained the most significant bruises, according to the report. He reportedly told authorities he was hit on a daily basis, and said sometimes Antuna made him change into basketball shorts so it would hurt more.

The boy told authorities Antuna hit him with the belt April 2 for not holding up a can of beans, the report shows. The victim reportedly said Antuna would make him hold bean cans while standing and facing the wall with his arms raised for four to five hours at a time. He said Antuna last beat him April 5 for ’emptying an oil pan too slowly,’ the report states.

Antuna reportedly had specific cans for the children to hold: green beans for the boy, tomato sauce and tomato soup for the girl. If they moved their arms or lowered the cans, they were hit with the belt, the report quotes the children as telling authorities. This happened on an almost daily basis in March, according to the report.

The girl told authorities she sustained bruises when she was beaten twice on April 1, once for moving her arms while holding the cans and another time for ‘cleaning the house too slowly,’ the report states. When the girl told her mother about the abrasions, she said Capps told her not to tell her father because ‘he would be upset,’ according to the report.

The boy also reportedly said that on at least one occasion, both Capps and Antuna wrote, ‘I lie to my mom all the time,’ on his arms in permanent marker and made him attend school that way. He said if he washed it off, he was told he would be hit with the belt, the report shows.

Both children said the abuse started shortly after their mother became involved in a relationship with Antuna. The 9-year-old told officials she thought Antuna began living at the residence on Gimlet Street in September or October 2012.

In interviews with detectives, Capps and Antuna reportedly admitted to hitting the children with the belt and making them hold cans as punishment. Capps even said she tried holding the bean cans herself but her arms hurt after 30 to 45 minutes, according to the report.

Both Capps and Antuna were arrested Wednesday and taken to Charlotte County Jail, where they remain without bond.

Email: mfavorite@sun-herald.com

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