An Indiana mother allegedly beat her young sons with a belt and bit them after they found their hidden Christmas presents and opened them, police said.
Sascha Collins, 36, hit her boys in the face and body with the belt’s buckle, threw them against walls and left them with bruises and marks, according to the Greenfield Police Department.
“When we see these types of things happen it breaks our hearts knowing that this is going on. We try to see that it was just a kid’s excitement, and that is what we want for them to have, excitement around Christmas time,” said acting police chief Derek Towle, WISH-TV reported.
Collins was charged with felony battery and battery to a disabled person with bodily injury, authorities said.
One of the boys has a mental disability, his sister told police.
According to online court records, Collins is free on $2,000 cash bail. She pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the charges against her.
The boys’ teenage sister returned home Sunday morning to find her brothers crying and saw marks on their bodies, police said. She went to an adult for help, authorities said.
“She was put in an incredibly difficult situation. There’s a lot of adults put in that same situation, maybe they don’t want to say something, they don’t want to rock the boat. She put somebody else’s interests in front of her own and she did what was right,” said Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton, CBS affiliate WTTV-TV reported.
The daughter said her mother was an alcoholic and had been drinking heavily the night before and passed out, police said. When the teenager left the house Sunday morning, her mom was still asleep, authorities said.
She returned about 45 minutes later and discovered her injured brothers, according to court documents, the station reported.
“When the mother came to … it was apparent that not only had the children been into the gifts, maybe they had opened some of the gifts,” Eaton said.
When questioned by investigators, the mother said she “went overboard” and “just lost it” because her children are sometimes disobedient and hard to control, police said.
Children’s services workers are investigating the incident, police said. It was not clear where the children are currently staying.
A pretrial conference for Collins is scheduled for Feb. 15.