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Zip-Tied 4-Year-Old Girl Leads to Arrest of Parents

North Carolina authorities have accused a couple of using zip ties to bind their daughter's wrists and ankles to a baby gate. The 4-year-old was removed from her parents' custody and the accused have been taken into police custody and charged with intentional child abuse.

Gerald Thomas Swinehart, 26, and Marlaine Victoria Coffey, 28, are both accused of zip-tying their daughter to a baby gate. Swinehart is also accused of hitting the girl so hard that her lower teeth broke through her lower lip, requiring medical attention. The abuse took place earlier this year, but the child was not removed from the home until March 31.

The little girl had bruises on her wrists and ankles from where the zip ties were used, according to the arrest warrant served to Swinehart and Coffey. Both remain in prison on charges of intentional felony child abuse causing serious physical injury.

Coffey's bond has been set at $50,000; Swinehart's has been set at $100,000. If found guilty of their crimes, both could receive lengthy prison sentences for the abuse, which is what the public seemingly wants, based on comments left on various websites.

"My prayers are with that child. Hope she is somewhere safe and happy," Gayle posted on

"Well, he lived up to his name," added reader Harvie. "He should be stoned to death."

"These two need to be zip tied to a prison cell, after the other inmates are told WHY they are there. If you can't control your stupidity and frustration, we don't need you loose on the streets, otherwise go burn it off at the gym, NOT on your children," Li Gold posted on the Washington Post website.

The 4-year-old has been taken into custody by the state, but it's not known whether she is with other family or a foster home.

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