The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Department has announced that three people are in custody following an investigation into a very disturbing child abuse case, and Sheriff Sam Craft says “The physical and emotional trauma suffered by this child is one of the worst, if not the worst case of child abuse, that has occurred in Vernon Parish.”
It all began with deputies and troopers responding to an unrelated traffic accident late Sunday evening in the Rosepine area, involving Dakota Wayne Singletary, 22, of Lake Charles, and Allen Clayton Fulks, 20, of Rosepine. Sheriff Craft said Fulks' girlfriend, 29-year-old Stacy Lynn Tharpe, also of Rosepine, showed up at the scene with her children.
However, Craft said officers noticed that one particular child was not with her. That child was a 7-year-old female who had been abandoned by her mother in February and left in the care of Tharpe, and this was known by law enforcement. Craft said officers asked about the girl, and Tharpe told them that the mother had retained possession of the child.
However, Craft said another person at the scene told the officer that it was not true, and the girl was still in the care of Tharpe.
Craft said his deputies went to Tharpe’s house to check on the girl and they found her severely beaten with acute bruises all over her body, her eyes were swollen shut, and her hair had been cut off. She was rushed by ambulance to a hospital to undergo treatment.
At the hospital, Craft said detectives interviewed the child and she told them that Singletary and Fulks had repeatedly beaten her with their fists and choked her until she lost consciousness. Craft said the 7-year-old told detectives “…she was tired and couldn't take the abuse any longer.”
Craft said Singletary and Fulks later confessed to the crime.
Craft said Tharpe was also interviewed and she confessed to witnessing the abuse, but not reporting it and also trying to conceal the abuse by leaving the child at home unattended.
Singletary and Fulks were arrested and each has been charged with 3 counts of Second Degree Cruelty to a Juvenile. Bond was set on each at $450,000.00 by 30th Judicial District Judge Tony Bennett, and both remain in the Vernon Parish Jail.
Tharpe was also arrested and charged with one count of Principal to Second Degree Cruelty to a Juvenile. The bond amount on Tharpe wasn’t immediately available, and she also remains in the Vernon Parish Jail.