Fla. Girl, 14, Installs Video Camera to Prove Alleged Abuse by Dad, Who Now Faces Charges
The man, 47, is accused of child cruelty and animal cruelty after allegedly head-butting the teen and threatening to kill the dog with a knife
For years, no one else believed the Florida girl’s claims of violent physical abuse by her dad, according to her mother.
So the 14-year-old installed a security camera herself in her bedroom, her mother told Pensacola TV station WEAR — and after watching two videos the teen recorded, authorities arrested a 47-year-old Destin man on charges of child abuse and animal cruelty, PEOPLE confirms with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
PEOPLE is not identifying either the suspect or the minor alleged victim, in order to protect her identity.
An incident recorded on December 23 begins with the suspect yelling at the teen in the bedroom of the home where she lived about a dog, according to the arrest warrant obtained by PEOPLE.
Video shared by the mother, who is divorced from the father, capture the man saying, “I’m not going to be disrespected in my [expletive] house.”
With the dog on the bed, the suspect “is seen pulling out a knife and pointing it at the dog while yelling ‘I will cut this [expletive] dog’s [expletive] eyeballs out, I will do it,'” while complaining about the dog “snapping” at him, according to the arrest warrant.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
After striking the dog, the man grabs it by the mouth, then the throat, and throws it from the bed to the ground.
“I’m killing the dog!,” he shouts, as seen in the video, which has gone viral.
“Please, dad, no, you’re not! Dad, stop!,” yells the teen.
As the girl jumped on the man’s back, the man “grabs the victim by the hair and pushes the victim’s head toward the bed, which makes contact with the bed frame/or post,” the warrant states.
After the man tells the teen to “shut the [expletive] up,” she is seen “cowering in the corner” as the man walks away as if to leave the bedroom, before he turns to yell again at her and then allegedly head-butts her.
“The victim’s head can be heard bouncing off the wall behind her and she immediately begins crying,” according to the warrant.
The alleged victim reported the incident the next day, December 24, and on December 27 she provided the sheriff’s office with the videos. The man was arrested January 2 on a charge of cruelty toward a child/abuse of a child without great bodily harm, a felony, and misdemeanor animal cruelty.
The teen’s parents have been engaged in a lengthy child custody dispute after filing for divorce in 2005, reports The Destin Log.
The man has since posted a $4,000 bond on the two charges and is scheduled to address them in court on February 4, reports WEAR.
Byron Cotton, an attorney for the man, could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE for comment.
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to http://www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.