MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Charges from the Dakota County Attorney’s office released Thursday offer a disturbing look into allegations of child neglect in an Apple Valley home.
Both Mary Alice Brooks-Neal, 53, and Dwight Timothy Neal, 55, are charged with two counts of child neglect.
According to the criminal complaints, Apple Valley Police first came to the Neal household in August 2015 on a tip about child abuse in the home. Upon arrival, police found a 14-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, and the boy began to detail to detectives a disturbing history of child abuse in the home.
The boy told detectives that the couple frequently hit him and his siblings with a belt, hands and other objects, showing officers scars on his leg. According to the criminal complaint, he detailed one incident where child services had just left the home, and Neal was angry at the children. The boy said Neal put his boot on the boy’s head and splashed grape juice and ice on his face.
The charges say officers also observed a camera set up in the kitchen, where several cabinets were chained shut. The boy told officers the cabinets were locked so he and his siblings couldn’t get the food inside.
The 14-year-old girl later told detectives about the “torture” her younger brother frequently endures, according to the criminal complaint. She told officers the boy had been suicidal in the past.
In their investigation, police learned of a particularly disturbing altercation in late April or early May of 2014. The 14-year-old girl had gotten into trouble at school, and a teacher called Neal at home. Neal grounded the girl, who then threatened to kill herself. Charges say on May 4, 2014, Neal came into the girl’s room with a cup of water, a bottle of pills and a knife and told the girl to kill herself if she really wanted to do it. The girl told detectives he left the pills and knife in the room and walked out. The girl’s younger sister said she was in the room at the time and corroborated the story.
Neal later admitted to police that the incident occurred, but said the pills were only candy and he only gave her a butter knife.
If convicted, both Brooks-Neal and Neal could face up to two years in prison and a $6,000 fine.