Boy ran from home to avoid beating for mercy killing of squirrel, Carter Lake police say

COUNCIL BLUFFS — A Carter Lake middle schooler told police that he was beaten by his mother and a man after he killed a squirrel that the man had trapped and tortured.

The boy told police the man had a squirrel inside a trap. He said the man was going to torture and kill the squirrel and then tie it to the front door to scare people.

The boy said he knew his mother’s boyfriend “was going to do terrible things to the squirrel, and thought it better if the squirrel just died.”

Rather than see it tortured, he said, he got a pellet gun from inside the house and killed the squirrel with a shot to the head.

The killing infuriated the boy’s mother and her boyfriend, the boy said.

The boy’s mother told the child “to come inside for a woopin,” which the boy knew to mean being hit with a plastic bat, so he ran away.

The man and woman were arrested last week, accused of felony child endangerment resulting in bodily injury.

Police said officers found the boy after he ran away from home Nov. 13. He claimed he was being beaten by both adults.

The man appeared in court Wednesday and argued with Judge Craig Dreismeier about his bail amount. He posted a $7,500 bail later that day.

The mother was arrested Monday on the same child endangerment charge. She has since posted $5,000 bail and has been appointed a public defender.

After he was reported missing, the boy was found at the Carter Lake VFW, 100 Locust St., where he told someone he was being abused at home and was too scared to return.

An officer met with the boy at the VFW. An employee there told officers “his mother hits him with a plastic bat and her boyfriend had punched him on the head with a large ring.”

Officers observed bruises on the boy and red dots that they believed to be bedbug bites.

The boy reported the abuse to a school counselor at Wilson Middle School earlier the same day, police said.

Police asked the boy why he decided to run away that day.

He told police his mother’s boyfriend had been trapping squirrels in front of his house, then “would kill and eat the squirrels and also ‘torture’ them,” the report states.

The child was taken into protective custody. Police interviewed his mother, who said, according to the officer’s report, that she does discipline the boy with a whiffle ball bat.

“She said she tries to strike him on his buttocks, but sometimes he moves or she misses and the bat strikes him on his thigh,” police reported.

When asked if her boyfriend had punched the boy, the mother asked “Why does it matter?” according to the report.

The man’s next hearing for the child endangerment charge is set for Thursday. The mother’s next hearing is set for Wednesday.

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