A woman facing charges for allegedly physically abusing her 12-year-old stepson in Montgomery County, Maryland, offered services as a nanny, our sister station Telemundo 44 confirmed.
Court documents detail the horrible treatment the preteen allegedly went through. The boy told authorities that his stepmother, Nicole Owens, 23, only allowed him to have one meal per day. She also struck him on the hands with a hot iron, causing him injuries, and on one occasion, burned his left arm by placing it on top of an open flame, according to the documents.
The boy said his stepmother started to “punish him” when he began to struggle in school, by making him “stand on his knees until he was injured.” He also disclosed he stopped attending classes once the COVID-19 pandemic started, the documents said.
The boy also said Owens would lock him in the bathroom and would tie his hands and feet with cords or clothes, according to court documents. He said he had to “earn the right to eat” and he could only sleep every few days. She would make him march so he would stay awake, the report said.
He told investigators he ran away because he “was tired of being hurt,” according to the documents. Authorities located the child after he approached two people and asked for water and food.
The child was severely malnourished and had a second-degree burn, according to a doctor’s report, the court documents said.
Owens is accused of first- and second-degree child abuse, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, according to court documents. The victim’s father, whom NBC Washington is not naming to protect the identity of the minor, faces child neglect charges.
On a website, Owens presented herself as a “wonderful loving nanny in Washington D.C.” and described her services as “childcare you can trust.” She stated on the site that she has more than nine years of experience, which started when she was 13, when she was taking care of her cousins.
Our sister station, Telemundo 44, spoke with the biological mother of the victim, who said she was dismayed by what her son went through.
“It was [last] Monday when a social worker with Montgomery County contacted me and told me they had my son and that he was in the hospital with injuries all over his body,” she said.
“[Owens] had him as if he were an animal. When police entered his room they said he didn’t have a bed. He didn’t have a pillow. Not even a blanket. Nothing. Just a camera," she said.
The mother said that she reached out to Montgomery County officials on repeated occasions to express her worries over the alleged treatment her child was receiving.
“I want to know why. Why my son had to go through all that. That they give me a reason. Because I don’t understand why," she said. “They could have saved him from all that a long time ago. From the burn on his arm. That happened a month ago.”
T44 contacted the county’s Department of Health and Human Services and the agency said, by law, they weren’t allowed to comment on cases related to child welfare.