Springfield couple faces several charges of child abuse and neglect; accused of locking son in dog cage

A couple in Missouri is facing child abuse and neglect charges years after police started their investigation. (Source: KY3)
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A Springfield couple faces several child abuse and neglect charges years after the investigation started.

Police accuse Joseph and Peggy Flores of putting their teenage son in a dog kennel for punishment. Investigators say medical examiners described the level of abuse as nearly “child torture.”

The reported abuse took place in March of 2020. Court records show the 15-year-old boy talked to an investigator at the Child Advocacy Center later in July of 2020.

”One of the most important things is that we want to make sure that we are allowing the child to participate in the process at whatever level they want to,” said Micki Lane with the Child Advocacy Center.

Documents say the child told the forensic interviewer his parents would lock him in a room with the window nailed shut and put him in a kennel, naked, along with two dogs.

According to investigators, the teenager said his parents would pour urine on him as punishment. He also described Joseph and Peggy Flores whipping his body with an extension cord and yelling profanity, including racial slurs.

”Over 90% of the time, allegations of abuse are being done by someone that is in the family, or someone known well to the family,” Lane said.

Micki Lane with the Child Advocacy Center did not interview the teenager in this case, but she said abuse leaves lasting scars.

”Survivors of abuse, learn to live with what’s happened. It doesn’t have to define them,” she said. “They may not think about it every day, but it’s not something that just goes away.”

Documents also show that examiners found physical scars, including patterned bruising. The child told forensic interviewers the abuse started when Springfield Public Schools shut down, and parents had to home school children due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lane said child abuse is preventable. She said the three most important things are understanding, identifying, and reporting suspicions.

”When we see something, and we report it, we want to support that child or teen,” she said. “We want to believe them. Belief is one of the things that is a significant impact on a child or teen’s ability to heal.”

Peggy and Joseph Flores were not in custody on Tuesday night. Their arrest warrants are awaiting a judge’s signature. KY3 asked the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office why it took so long. Prosecutors say COVID-19 may have been partially to blame. The prosecutor’s office also said it took time to remove the child from the home.

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