Logan County couple formally charged in child handcuffing case

As neighbors like Jaime Garcia pass by the O'Briens' home on the 3300-block of North Midwest Boulevard in Guthrie, they get the chills.

"It's scary, scary to think someone can do something like that around here," said Garcia.

A home once full of children now sits empty. Two dogs outside keep watch on the grounds located off a dirt road on the east side of I-35 in Guthrie. The only two people are left at the house are Thomas and Tonya O'Brien, a couple accused of handcuffing a seven year old boy.

"I think that's insane," said Garcia, still stunned, "I can't believe someone could do that to a child."

The Logan County District Attorney charged the couple Monday with child neglect. Thomas was charged with an additional count of child abuse. Affidavits obtained from the Logan County Courthouse show Thomas is accused of striking the seven year old with a belt on his legs and buttocks.

"It's a sad case for everyone involved," said Capt. Richard Stephens, a spokesman for Logan County Sheriff's Office.

Court documents reveal an older sibling of the boy removed his handcuffs before deputies visited with him. Stephens says the young boy was handcuffed behind his back in his sleep and next to a staircase during the day, a location that put him in danger.

"It's a terrible situation," said Stephens.

The boy was taken into DHS custody after the incident. Stephens says the remaining five children were taken away before the O'Briens' first court appearance Monday afternoon.

The O'Briens turned themselves in after their court appearance and were booked into Logan County Detention Center. They bailed out a few minutes later. Thomas posted a $7,500 bond and Tonya posted a $5,000 bond.

Fox-25 stopped by the O'Briens' home and put in calls to their attorney, but no one could be reached for comment.

As criminal proceedings continue, Garcia says one thing remains clear.

"These parents need some help," said Garcia.

The O'Briens are due in Logan County Court for a preliminary hearing at 9 AM on September 26.