CHILD ABUSE ARRESTS Detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office have arrested two people after they admitted to locking a young boy in a closet for hours at a time.
On Sunday, deputies were called to a Tampa home for reports of a missing child. Once at the residence deputies located the boy who had been hiding in the home. Deputies cleared the call.
A short time later, deputies returned to the scene to conduct an investigation into potential child abuse. The boy told deputies he has been handcuffed and forced to stand in a closet as a punishment. The boy said this "punishment" has been happening for about 16 hours every day for the past few weeks.
While talking with detectives, John Hernandez, 41, admitted to handcuffing the boy and putting him in the closet as a punishment for behavioral issues from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Natasha Dabbs, 37, told detectives she knew the punishment was taking place and did not try to prevent it. Dabbs says this has been happening since December 25, 2020.
Hernandez and Dabbs were arrested and booked into the Orient Road Jail.
"𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗵𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "𝗜 𝗮𝗺 𝘀𝗼 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵. 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝘆 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗯𝗼𝘆'𝘀 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲."
The name, age of the victim and the relationship between the victim and suspects will not be released due to Marsy's Law.
This is an ongoing and active investigation.