TOWANDA, Pa. — Two 22-year-old babysitters are facing $1.25 million in bail after a mom who dropped her four children off for a week of care discovered two of them bruised when she returned.
Jakayo Frye of Towanda and Shyann Hills of Rome, Pennsylvania, were friends with the mother and had watched her children before, police said. On July 20, the mom dropped her kids off and paid Frye and Hills $100 for the children's care.
When she returned Friday evening and noticed the injuries, she called emergency personnel. Pennsylvania state police began an investigation, concluding Wednesday that the victims had been severely abused.
The pair were arrested and are being held at Bradford County jail, awaiting Aug. 14 court hearings. Frye faces 132 separate charges, including seven counts of aggravated assault; Hills faces 221 charges, including one count of aggravated assault.
The children are recovering at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania.
► July 25: Babysitters sent to prison for 'sadistic' sexual assault of toddler
► May 31: 26-year-old man, babysitting for a friend, killed 3-year-old, police say
► March 13: Ohio toddler 'hanging on by a thread' after brutal beating by babysitter
Police brought specific charges related to a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. But the other siblings — a 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old girl — had been told to assist in some of the punishments Frye and Hills handed out, troopers said.
If the children told anyone what happened, Frye told the 9-year-old girl that "he would hunt them down," according to 22 pages of police charging documents released Thursday.
The more serious abuse appeared to be directed at the 9-year-old girl, troopers allege:
- She was forced to drink urine off a hardwood floor and dog urine through a straw. And if any of the children were being "bad," they weren't allowed to use the bathroom.
- She was forced to hold 5-gallon water jugs over her head, and Frye hit her while she did this.
- She was tied to a dog cage tightly with a belt around her waist while her hands were tied behind her back to the cage. As she struggled to free herself, the dog cage fell on top of her.
When the girl cried for her mother, Hills tied her up, the girl disclosed. Tape and shoe laces were used to tie a partly filled 5-gallon water jug to her stomach while she ran in place.
In addition, she and the 7-year-old were allegedly forced into a plank position with nails upright under them. If either child fell, the nails would stick into them.
At one point, the girl was lifted by her ears whenever she fell while standing with her back to the wall with her knees bent.
One of her siblings told police it looked like her ears "popped out."
When the children were allegedly punched in the legs, they described it as being given "dead legs."
The girl also told authorities that Frye and Hills fed them only some days and that "they treated the dogs better."
During an interview with authorities, the 7-year-old boy said "Mommy's friends" beat up his 9-year-old sister but also abused him.
Frye stood on the child's back while wearing shoes as he tried to maintain a push-up position. The boy's body went limp and he passed out, so Frye ran his head under cold water until he woke up.
The boy was forced to do the plank position and try to sit as if he were on an invisible chair.
He also was struck with a metal handle that came off a stove.
One of the victims also repeatedly had their head hit against a refrigerator, the criminal complaint alleges.
Frye and Hills tried to explain away the bruises when the children's' mother asked about what happened.
"They told her the children were throwing themselves against a wall and that a dog cage fell on (the girl)," Trooper Christopher Higdon said in the complaint. The mother picked up her children in Towanda, but much of the abuse appeared to have occurred at Hills' trailer in nearby Rome, Pennsylvania.
The area is about 150 miles northwest of New York City.
While the mother drove her children 20 miles to the house of her husband's parents across the border in Waverly, New York, the 9-year-old girl began complaining that her back ached. She told her mother she might pass out, that she felt as if she would vomit, and that she couldn't hear out of one ear.
After arriving in Waverly, the girl had trouble walking. Her mother found more bruises on her children's bodies.
Emergency medical personnel were called.
At the hospital, a nurse told police the girl was in poor condition: She was dehydrated and suffered a possible ankle fracture.
The girl had the highest levels of injury or stress to muscle tissue that the nurse had ever seen, the nurse told police.
Bruising to the girl was most severe on her head, back and buttocks, according to court records. Her ears were swollen and red.
Police also documented bruising all over the boy's body.
Frye and Hills have been charged with the following crimes: aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child, simple assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and corruption of minors.
Bail has been set at $750,000 for Frye. Hills is being held with bail set at $500,000.
Follow Anthony Borrelli on Twitter: @PSBABorrelli