An Ozark mother and her boyfriend are facing charges tonight for child endangerment and endangerment. Delaina Collins is charged with six counts of child endangerment. Her boyfriend Michael Kuster is charged with child abuse for spanking kids with a board with staples in it.
On August 14, police got a call to an Ozark home for domestic violence. The officer says he found Collins sweeping broken glass off the floor. Police say a 14-year-old girl tried to call for help but her mother's boyfriend threw the phone in the trash and then threw a beer and toaster at the teenager.
Investigators say they found more signs of abuse after talking to Collins’ children. "They were severely bruised and there were a number of children involved," Christian County Prosecutor Ron Cleek said. Police say a 14-year-old girl, 7-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy badly were bruised from being spanked with a board. "The board allegedly used had staples in it," Cleek said.
No one answered the door at the couple's Ozark home on west Church Street. Police say Collins threatened to move out of state to avoid cooperating in the case. She is charged with child endangerment for not stopping the alleged abuse, refusing to send her children to be interviewed at the child advocacy center and not getting the kids medical treatment. Collins declined to comment on the case. Police say she moved to Stone County right after the investigation started.
According to court documents the board used to spank the kids was 1’ 5” foot by 2.5” wide. The documents don't show how thick the board was. Collins' boyfriend Michael Kuster now faces two counts of child abuse. Prosecutors say pictures of the children's injuries prove the spankings were more than punishment.
“In the old days they would use a switch, in the old days they might use a strap, in the old days they may use a number of things but this was not a thin board by any stretch of the imagination,” Cleek said.
A children's division worker assigned to the case says Collins would not meet during scheduled appointments and disconnected her phone.
Police say the children had bruising that appeared to be in different stages which Indicated the bruises occurred at different times.