Couple accused of using zip ties to bind 4-year-old daughter to baby gate

From staff reportsMay 6, 2013 

— A man and woman were scheduled to appear in Wake County court Monday after being returned from Florida over the weekend to face charges that they used zip ties to bind their 4-year-old daughter to a baby gate.

Arrest warrants from Raleigh police said Gerald Thomas Swinehart, 26, pushed or kicked the girl so that her lower teeth broke through her lower lip, and he and Marlaine Victoria Coffey, 28, were charged with using zip ties – the plastic pull-through strips that electricians use to bundle wires – to bind the girl’s wrists and ankles and then to tie her to a baby gate.

The warrants list all of February and March as the time it happened and do not specify if police believe it happened once or was an ongoing practice.

The Wake County Department of Social Services took the girl into their custody on March 31, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

Swinehart was charged with two counts of intentional child abuse inflicting serious physical injury. Coffey was charged with one count.

The warrants said the girl’s wrists and ankles were bruised from being restrained.

In the arrest warrants, police listed Swinehart and Coffey as living at 931 S. East St. in Raleigh.

Arrest reports filed when the couple were booked into the Wake County Detention Center late Saturday afternoon lists that as Coffey’s address but Swinehart’s is now 5808 Nottoway Court in Raleigh.

The two were returned from the Martin County Jail in Stuart, Fla., where they had been held.

They waived extradition proceedings and came to North Carolina voluntarily, their records show.

Each was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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