Two Izard County residents are facing charges after an investigation by the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division and Izard County Sheriff’s Office into the abuse of multiple children.
24-year-old Elizabeth Whorton has been charged with permitting abuse of a minor, a class D felony and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor in the third degree, a class B misdemeanor and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Jeffery Clinton Maxwell has been charged with domestic battering in the second degree, a class C felony and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, a class B misdemeanor.
The charges, filed Feb. 7 in Izard County Circuit Court stem from an investigation Jan. 30 when Sergeant Investigator Tyler Webb and Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division Investigator Patricia Holloway traveled to a residence in Highway 9 South to perform a welfare check and make contact with Whorton and Maxwell.
After arriving, and making contact with the adults in the home, the investigators also made contact with three young children each less than seven years of age.
The group then traveled to the Izard County Sheriff’s Office and Holloway conducted a child forensic interview with the oldest of the three children.
The victim explained he’d gotten in trouble at school and when asked to explain, said he had been bad and seen his mom and dad having sex.
The victim provided graphic detail, describing the anatomy of his parents and the sexual positions he had seen his parents engaged in.
The victim said this had occurred multiple times and that his parents were aware he could see them having sex and would simply tell him to “look away, look down, turn around etc..”
He explained when he had gotten in trouble at school, Maxwell had “whooped” him with a belt and as a result he had welts and marks on his “ass and privates”.
He said there were still marks on his body for four days following the “whooping”.
The victim also said his siblings, referred to as victims 2 and victim 3 all received “whoopings” from both Whorton and Maxwell which would leave marks for days.
In addition to being beaten with a belt, the victim said he also received “whoopings” on his feet with a wooden paddle that would leave bruising.
After the interview, the victim, investigator and Whorton stepped into a private area so the victim could be examined for marks on his body.
Extensive marks/bruising were observed all over the victim’s lower body,” the affidavit states.
Severe bruising in various stages of healing were noted on the victims lower back, legs, hips, lower legs, inner thighs, private area, shins and feet.
When Whorton was asked about he injuries “Whorton was very nonchalant and appeared unconcerned stating Victim 1’s dad whooped him ‘too much’ on Friday”. She went on to say the markings “were normal, but not usually this bad.”
Whorton was next to be interviewed, she denied her children ever seeing her having sex, but had no explanation as to how her child could provide graphic descriptions not only of the bodies of herself and Maxwell, but also had no explanation as to her her child could provide great detail about the nature of the adult interactions.
She did acknowledge she had witnessed Maxwell “whoop” the victim, but tried to minimize the injuries to her child and stated Maxwell has caused severe injuries to the victim multiple times in the past.
Maxwell was next to be interviewed. It was noted that Maxwell referred to the disciplinary action against his children as “beatings”, and said the day he had “disciplined victim 1 for ‘lying’ about him.
When asked if the victim had ever witnessed Maxwell and Whorton have sex, Maxwell admitted the victim had seen the two having sex on more than one occasion and when It was pointed out the child had not lied, as Maxwell had accused him of doing, Maxwell was unable to provide another reason for beating the victim/s.
Maxwell referred to it as “tough love” and admitted to beating the victim on multiple occasions prior to the Jan. 26 incident.
Whorton was interviewed a second time and admitted she had witnessed Maxwell beat the victims multiple times In the past resulting in marks, bruising and welts.
She said the beatings would occur weekly but said Maxwell had not been physically violent with her. “Whorton indicated that she allowed the beatings to happen to the children so they would not happen to her. She attempted to say that she tried to protect the children, but ultimately admitted she had never taken actual steps to protect the children from being physically abused, such as contacting law enforcement, telling a teacher or mandated reporter, seeking help from domestic violence shelter programs… etc,” the affidavit states.
It was noted at the time of the interviews, the second youngest child also had visible marks on her body consistent with physical abuse.
As a result Whorton has been charged with permitting abuse of a minor, a class D felony and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor in the third degree, a class B misdemeanor, her bond was set at $$5,000. Maxwell has been charged with domestic battering in the second degree, a class C felony and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, a class B misdemeanor, his bond was set at $15,000.
The victims have been removed from by the Izard County Department of Child and Family Services.