The Gibson County Sheriff’s Office has charged a 15-year-old boy with two counts of aggravated child abuse after photos circulated on Facebook showing his two younger sisters bound with duct tape, the sheriff said in a news release Tuesday.
The photos were brought to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office on Sunday.
“Investigators immediately starting working on the case and determined the images were on the Facebook page of a 15-year-old juvenile male from Gibson County and the images depicted were those of his two younger siblings, 2 years old and 6 months old,” Gibson County Sheriff Paul Thomas said in the news release. “After identifying the one responsible for posting the pictures, investigators from the Sheriff’s Office did follow up by checking on the welfare of the two young children in the photos and determined they weren’t in any immediate danger. They also conducted an interview of the 15-year-old male, with the assistance of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, where the male admitted to placing his two siblings in the duct tape, in what he described as a joke, and taking the photos.”
Investigators have discussed the matter with District Attorney General Garry Brown’s office. On Tuesday, the 15-year-old was formally charged in Gibson County Juvenile Court with two counts of aggravated child abuse.
The two young girls are not currently living in the same home with their teenage brother. Thomas said the teenager is living with a different relative.
The teenager will appear in juvenile court when his court date is set.
Thomas said the teen is not currently being charged as an adult, but the district attorney and court system will determine if he will eventually be charged as an adult.
Thomas said his department is still working on the investigation.
“My investigators are still looking into it to make sure they haven’t missed anything,” he said.
“The Gibson County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank everyone in the community that has reached out to us and made sure this case was being followed up on,” he said.
Two of the photos on Facebook were posted on Valentine’s Day and show each of the two girls bound with duct tape while lying on a bed. In one photo the 2-year-old girl’s hands and feet are apparently bound behind her back and her mouth is wrapped in duct tape. In the other photo, the 6-month-old’s hands appear to be bound with duct tape.
Another photo circulated on Facebook shows the 2-year-old lying in the open trunk of an SUV with her arms and legs apparently wrapped in tape.
The photos were shared thousands of times on social media, and many residents reported them to law enforcement.