Salina Couple Convicted of Child Abuse and Neglect
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma
TULSA – On Friday June 23, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against Amanda Irene Smith, 44, and Joel Richard Smith, 48, for Child Abuse in Indian Country and Child Neglect in Indian Country following a four-day trial. The jury deliberated into the evening.
“The abuse of children will never be tolerated or go unpunished,” said U.S. Attorney Clinton Johnson. “The years of abuse the victim suffered at the hands of those she should have been able to trust is both heartbreaking and unconscionable. My office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting perpetrators of child abuse.”
According to the victim’s testimony presented at trial, she “escaped” to a neighboring home on April 5, 2019, when she was 9 years old. She was filthy, in need of medical attention and extremely hungry. She was wearing a diaper and showed signs of physical abuse, and the neighbor alerted authorities. The victim, who weighed 41 pounds and was wearing a toddler size-four t-shirt, was hospitalized for a week to treat malnutrition and inflections from her wounds. The Mayes County Sheriff’s Office investigation showed that the defendants routinely denied the victim food and access to the bathroom, handcuffed her to a “pack n’ play,” and beat her with a belt and livestock whip. Testimony at trial also revealed the defendants forced her to work outside moving rocks and dirt with her hands, pulling weeds and picking up sticks for several hours at a time.
Previously released on bond prior to trial, the couple was permitted to remain on bond for two weeks and self-report to federal custody for formal sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman presided over trial and sentencing is yet to be scheduled. At that time, both face up to life in federal prison.
Mayes County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Ihler and Melody Nelson prosecuted the case.
Updated June 26, 2023