Raleigh couple charged with child abuse make first court appearances
A couple has been charged with inflicting "serious mental injury" on their pre-teen daughter for more than two years at their North Raleigh home.
Russell Jay Smith, 47, and Lindsey Michelle Smith, 38, surrendered Tuesday night after police obtained arrest warrants charging them with negligent child abuse inflicting serious physical injury and misdemeanor child abuse.
Police say the Smiths abused their daughter by putting her through "extreme isolation" and "ostracism." They also say the couple failed to provide an adequate education for the child and forced her to remain standing for hours.
The girl was 11 when the abuse began, police wrote in court documents. They allege the abuse occurred between April 2016 through last month.
Lindsey Smith's mother, Tammy McKinney, who lives in Texas, said Wednesday that she called Raleigh police that day after her 17-year-old granddaughter sent her a Snapchat photo of her bruised eye.
"I'm the one that called the police," McKinney said, adding that she has been estranged from her daughter for about five years.
Police got Child Protective Services involved after the May 30 incident, in which Russell Smith was charged with misdemeanor assault.
Russell Smith and Lindsey Smith both made their first appearances in Wake County court on Wednesday. Russell Smith told District Court Judge Ned Mangum that he was innocent.
"I own my own business. I own my house," he said. "There's nothing I would like to do more than get out and clear my name."
The Smiths were represented by Raleigh attorney J. Patrick Williams, who said the couple had "every intention to fight the charges."
The prosecutor said the Smiths took the girl out of the school system two years ago and assaulted her by "smacking her in the face and pulling her hair."
McKinney said her grandchildren are not allowed to contact her. The Smith couple has five children from previous marriages, she said.
"They have endured living hell," McKinney said of the children.
According to court records, Lindsey Smith was charged in November 2011 with not sending a child to school when the couple lived in Wake Forest. That charge was dismissed without leave in March 2012.
Wake County tax records show that the Smiths own the 6,900-square-foot home on a half-acre on Spyglass Way. The property is valued at $758,758.
Mangum declined to reduce the $100,000 bonds for the Smiths. They were also ordered to have no contact with the victim, one another or any minor children.