KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Sedalia, Missouri man is accused of beating and starving his girlfriend's three children, as well as making them sleep in a bathroom closet.
James L. Hayes, 48, is charged with child abuse, second-degree kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child.
According to court documents, the three victims, ages 12, 9 and 8, told investigators that Hayes would regularly kick them and beat them with a belt with pointy metal objects on it.
All three children told investigators in separate interviews that James would grow angry when they ate food in the house so he would punish them by making them do exercises like pushups and squats. They also said he would make them lay on the ground, repeatedly kick them and then hit them belts. He also allegedly shot them with an airsoft gun on one occasion.
The children were also forced to sleep in a bathroom and it's closet every night. The children described cuddling together for warmth and drinking from the sink and bathtub faucets. The children said they were only allowed to leave the bathroom when their mother's probation officer visited.
Hayes would allegedly stop the violence when the children's mother was home. The victims also told investigators that Hayes would get angry at their mother when she attempted to give them food when they were locked in the bathroom.
Police searched Hayes's home and found the belt, airsoft gun and bars on the bathroom door described by the children.