Missouri man charged with restraining children with zip ties

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A western Missouri man was charged with restraining his ex-girlfriend’s son and his daughters with zip ties and keeping them in cardboard boxes overnight on multiple occasions.

Gary Wyant, 32, of Lawson, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 11 felony counts of child abuse and two counts of evidence tampering. Wyant has been released on bond. He doesn’t have a listed phone number, and his attorney didn’t immediately return a phone message.

A police officer in Lawson, which is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Kansas City, wrote in the probable cause affidavit that the investigation began in May after the 9-year-old son of Wyant’s ex-girlfriend talked to a teacher, who called a state hotline. The boy told a state welfare official that he was “hog tied,” grabbed around the throat and put in a box while his mother and twin sister lived with Wyant for several months in 2017. The boy described telling Wyant to stop and set him free in an interview at a child advocacy center. The boy also said Wyant hit him in the face, whipped him with a belt and told him not to tell anyone, the office wrote.

The boy’s mother said Wyant’s three daughters — ages 9, 7 and 6 — also visited every other weekend. Two of his daughters reported hearing the boy screaming to be let out of the box. The daughters also described being tied up themselves with a mixture of string, yarn and zip ties in 2017 and 2018 and sometimes put in a box overnight with the lid taped shut, the affidavit said.

The girls’ stepfather said one of the girls told him that when she yelled to be untied, Wyant told her to go back to sleep and that “the reason he had tied her up was because she was bad,” the affidavit said. The affidavit also describes Wyant hitting the girls with a board with holes drilled in it and the word “the enforcer” written on it.

Wyant said under questioning that he put the boy in a box as a present for his mother but the boy started yelling when he let him out of the box. The officer wrote that when he asked Wyant about tying up the girl, he started crying and said he wanted his attorney.

One of his daughters said he burned the boxes and zip ties so there wouldn’t be any evidence, the affidavit said.

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Information from: KMBC-TV, http://www.kmbc.com

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