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Dad and girlfriend charged with zip-tying 4-year-old

RALEIGH, N.C., May 7 (UPI) — A North Carolina man and his girlfriend are accused of using zip ties to bind the man’s 4-year-old daughter to a babygate in their Raleigh home, police said.

Gerald Thomas Swinehart, 26 and Marliane Victoria Coffey, 28, face charges of felony child abuse, WRAL-TV, Raleigh, reported.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cruden said authorities became aware of the child’s situation after Coffey took her to Duke University Hospital with serious injuries.

The victim was interviewed by authorities and talked about an injury to her mouth when her father kicked her and she hit a TV.

“During the course of that interview, she also talked about how her father would tie her to a dog/kid gate for extended periods of time,” Cruden said. “She had wounds to her ankles and wrists consistent with that.”

An arrest warrant said Swinehart is also accused of pushing the child down and kicking her hard enough to “cause the victim’s bottom teeth to protrude through her bottom lip.”

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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