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Law enforcement officials say the 7-year-old child rescued early Sunday morning near a home in the 4900 block of S. Highway 87 was allegedly restrained using a straight jacket before attempting to run away.
In a press release issued Monday morning, Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker confirmed the boy had told law enforcement officers he was running away from home after having been allegedly restrained using a straight jacket by his parents, who were taken into custody shortly after.
âOn Sunday at approximately 1:36 a.m. deputies with the Howard County Sheriffâs Office were dispatched to the 4900 block of S. Highway 87 in reference to a small child riding a bike on Highway 87 in the dark,â Parker said. âUpon arrival, deputies spoke to the child, age 7, and he advised he was running away from home.
âContact was made with family members and they stated the child had been restrained using a 'straight jacket' and they didnât know how he had gotten out. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the living conditions of the residence were not suitable. Child Protective Services was called and took custody of three children, ages 7, 5 and 2.â
Tamara Ruth Whitt, 26, of 4302.5 S. Highway 87, was arrested by the Howard County Sheriff's Office on charges of abandoning/endangering a child â criminal negligence (two counts).
A second individual, Edgar Dale Whitt, 54, also of 4302.5 S. Highway 87, was charged with two counts of abandoning/endangering a child â criminal negligence.
Parker said during the course of the investigation, a grisly discovery was made.
âAs part of the investigation we were trying to determine who the father of the children were,â Parker said. âThe family had only moved to Big Spring about two years ago, which was making that somewhat difficult. However, after speaking to them for a while, it was discovered that Edgar Whitt â who is Tamara Whitt's father â had fathered at least one of the children with his daughter. That's when the decision was made to file additional charges against Edgar Whitt.â
Edgar Whitt was later charged with prohibited sexual conduct â incest, a second-degree felony, according to Big Spring Police Department arrest records.
Parker declined to comment on the physical condition of the children at this time or whether there is evidence of physical abuse or molestation.
âI can't comment on that right now, as this is an ongoing investigation,â Parker said. âWe're preparing this information to be turned over to the district attorney's office.â