MORGAN COUNTY, Mo. - Two Morgan County women and a man have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree after forcing a child to consume and gag on spicy barbecue sauce, as well as locking the child in a room for hours without access to a restroom.
A woman reported to the Morgan County sheriff that the child was being abused by his mother, Tara Lynn Rice, and her friend, Sarah Marie Holm.
According to court documents obtained by ABC 17 News, Morgan County Sheriff's Office deputies received footage of the incident as it was happening. The documents say Rice and Holm were holding the child on the couch and forcing him to consume a spicy barbecue sauce.
During Rice's interview with law enforcement officials, she admitted to forcing her child to consume the sauce and later admitted she did so as a form of punishment.
Court documents also say during the interview process Holm admitted to forcing the child to eat barbecue sauce. She allegedly placed it on her hand and forced it into his mouth. The document also says when the the deputy read Holm the statues of endangering the welfare of a child, the deputy asked if she thought her actions met the requirements of the crime, and she stated "yes."
Rice's husband, Indiana Scott Rice, claimed that Tara was a good parent to the child. He was also arrested. Indiana Rice admitted to police that he and his wife would take video of the child crying and make him watch it because it would upset him and teach him not to cry.
ABC 17 News was able to speak with Sarah Holm after she bonded out of jail. She said this was all a misunderstanding and that no forceful feeding or endangering of any kind occurred.
"The video doesn't show any sort of forceful feeding, it just shows us sitting on the couch with the child beside his mom," Holm said.
Holm also went on to state that the information provided in the court documents was false.
"It's false accusations 'cause the video does not show anyone putting anything in the child's mouth," Holm said.
She told ABC 17 News that she has known the mother of the child for over a year now and considers her a sister, and the child like an adopted son.
"I care for this child like it's my own. There was no endangering going on," Holm said.
The child is currently being treated at a mental health facility for behavioral issues, according to the Holm's.
Indiana and Tara Rice are still currently in jail. At last check, they have not posted their bond of $30,000.
ABC 17 News has formally requested the video evidence used in this case.