A South Carolina couple allegedly forced their 14-year-old daughter to live in the woods for a week after she was caught sneaking a sugary snack. The couple was arrested on Friday and charged with neglect after police said they found the girl in a tent about a quarter mile from her home. The girl’s grandmother had called police, according to the arrest report.
“They were upset because the child ate a Pop-Tart,” Braden Bunch of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to the Daily Beast, on Thursday morning, according to the sheriff’s office, the couple banished the girl to the nearby woods, which are stomping grounds for wild hogs. They allegedly provided her only with a roll of toilet paper, a flashlight, a whistle and a watch for her outdoor sentence, which was supposed to last a week.
“She was out there for two days and was expected by her parents to stay out there for another five. The parents have confirmed to us exactly what they were planning,” Bunch said.
The girl was told if she wanted food, she’d have to come to a fence on the family’s property at certain times. Also at one point, a member of the Drigger household delivered a cold can of SpaghettiOs to the girl, police said.
According to her grandma, the punishment was intended to make her feel how it would be to be homeless.
But when the weather turned stormy Thursday night, the grandmother couldn’t take it anymore and brought the girl to her house after which she then texted her son, James Driggers, who became upset with her for interfering, the report says.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, the father assured them that the girl would return home that night. The dad reportedly described the teen as a “problem child” who was causing trouble at home and at school.
The next day, officers say they discovered the teenager was back in the tent, which had been moved closer to the Drigger residence.
Crystal Driggers allegedly told one deputy, “Now maybe we can get some help for her. Y’all wouldn’t help before.”
Crystal also claimed the police told her it was OK for her daughter to be in the woods as long as there was no lightning, according to the report.
It’s unclear what the Driggers’ motives may have been for the teen’s alleged discipline. Bunch that Crystal Driggers may actually be the girl’s stepmother.