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Woman handcuffed her small kids to preserve food

posted 10/23/2008 7:11:04 PM |
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tagged: news, sad, straddle

Kena Ross worried about running out of food.

So, the 29-year-old pregnant Winton Hills mother of six told police she did what she often did to make the food last – she bound her children’s wrists and ankles with plastic handcuffs to keeping them from “hoarding food.”

“These kids, mind you, are (ages) 4 and 5,” Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Calambas said Thursday. “They are thin.”

That was part of the evidence that could send Ross and her boyfriend, Christopher Gray, 31, to prison for 10 years each.

Ross was convicted Thursday of using plastic flex cuffs to bind the ankles and wrists of two of her children, and for waiting two weeks to take her son for treatment after the 4-year-old burned his hand.

Officials became aware of the restraints when the 4-year-old showed up at the hospital with 2-week-old burns and skin peeling from a hand covered in scabs
Ross and Gray told authorities the child burned his hand by sticking it in an operating washing machine.

“We just don’t know. That’s what (Ross and Gray) say. There’s no way for us to prove he was thrown in there,” Calambas said.

The couple didn’t seek help for the child’s burned hand. Instead, they treated it with ointment. They took him to the hospital two weeks later when his hand began smelling foul and peeling.

At the hospital, the doctor noticed the burn ended at the boy’s wrist. It was noticeable because the boy’s wrist had cuff marks on it. So did his other hand and ankles.

That’s when the boy said his mom cuffed them to stop them from getting food.
Police investigated and went to their Winton Hills home, finding plastic flex cuffs in a garbage can.

In the home at the time with the pregnant Ross were a 5-year-old, twin 4-year-olds and an infant.

Ross told police that because she was on welfare she was concerned about the children eating all of the food before the end of the month.

First, she put a lock on the refrigerator. When that didn’t keep the children out, she said, she resorted to the cuff with at least two of them, often while she slept.

“This is obviously a sad case. Children do not have to go hungry in this community. We provide food stamps and cash assistance to needy families and there are many social service agencies that will help bridge the gap,” Department of Job & Family Services spokesman Brian Gregg said Thursday.

A single mom with seven kids can receive cash and food stamps of about $1,400 per month from JFS, Gregg said.

“Every parent has the responsibility to seek out that assistance and ensure their children are properly cared for, so that JFS doesn’t have to get involved from a child-welfare standpoint,” Gregg added.

JFS has had previous contact with Ross and her family.

Gregg wouldn’t provide specifics, but said in 2003 and 2004 she was investigated for “neglect-type issues” involving family finances.

Welfare recipients who run out of money can ask JFS to help pay for rent, utilities or food.

Three of Ross’ children are now in foster care. The other four are with relatives.

Ross, who had no criminal record in Hamilton County, was convicted Thursday of three counts of child endangering. She’ll be sentenced Nov. 14 by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Fred Nelson, who can send her to prison for 10 years.
Gray’s only crime in Hamilton County was a 1998 theft conviction. He avoided prison by successfully completing five years of probation.

Gray will be before Nelson on Monday to face three counts of child endangering.


My opinion on this couple isn't very good as you can imagine. There is NO excuse to do this to your kids or anyone elses. If she couldn't have supported her children before she had them, then she shouldn't have had any. I hate government envolvement of any kind, but something should be done to make sure her kids can get the nutrition and care they need.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts on this story

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post a comment!


Oct 23 @ 7:18PM  
sigh .. and some of us dumpster dived for soda cans to return to make sure our kids had enough.. I wish they could do more than ten years.

Oct 23 @ 7:19PM  
This piece was from the Cincinnati Enquirer today

Oct 23 @ 7:22PM  
Or they can,you know, teach people to properly use birth control methods instead of birthing children they can't afford to feed. Children always seem to get the short end up the stick in situations like this. How hard was it for her spay herself after the first 3? Disgusting.

Oct 23 @ 7:54PM  
This makes me ill for many different reasons. People who don't deserve children have many, while people that want them can't seem to have them. I don't think i want to post the rest of my thoughts on this story except to say that I agree with Sam I wish they could do more than 10 years and have thier hands and feet cuffed so they aren't able to eat, let them see what it feels like to be those children.

Oct 23 @ 8:03PM  
OMG Straddle...

What a distressing article! It's heartbreaking and absolutely unfathomable. I am still of the opinion that if someone's misusing the welfare system, they need to enforce involuntary tubal ligation and vasectomies.

Someone very close to me is one of the many who can't have a child and would die for just one! It kills me to hear the pain in her voice and see the sadness on her face and when she sees stuff like this on TV or the Caylee Anthony case, she gets so riled up, you can barely understand her.

There's absolutely NO WAY I would ever deny my child his food; I simply can't imagine it!

Oct 23 @ 8:04PM  
Why won't they work anyway? And they should stop having babies after two if they don't even want to work, effin a!!!

Oct 23 @ 8:22PM  
I am sending a prayer tonight to those wondeful kids & hope that life gets better for them.

Oct 23 @ 9:23PM  
Just sickening.....


Oct 23 @ 9:58PM  
Had it done to me as a child.....wouldn't want it wished on anyone!! may they burn in hell!!!

Oct 23 @ 10:57PM  
Like I have always said...anyone can have a baby...very sad.

Oct 23 @ 10:57PM  
I'm surprised no guys have commented on this blog other than me. Now I know there are guys out there would be pretty damn upset about this just like the women who have commented on this blog. I know that they must have an opinion about this.

Oct 23 @ 11:05PM  
This just sickens me...

Oct 24 @ 12:13AM  

I went without many times so my kids could get enough.
This woman is just plane sick.

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Woman handcuffed her small kids to preserve food