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Lawson man pleads not guilty to 11 felony counts of child abuse

October 3, 2018—A Lawson man has been released on bond following allegations he restrained children with zip ties or string and placed them in cardboard boxes overnight as punishment.

At an arraignment hearing held Oct. 2, defendant Gary M. Wyant, of Lawson, appeared in custody and with counsel in the Ray County courtroom of Judge Lori Baskins. Wyant pleaded not guilty to a total of 13 felonies: one Class C felony charge of abuse or neglect of a child, 10 Class D felony charges of abuse or neglect of a child-no sexual contact, one Class D felony charge of tamper or attempt to tamper with a victim in a felony prosecution and one Class E felony charge of tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution. Baskins released Wyant on amended bond, dropped from $100,000 cash-only to $50,000, with 10 percent allowed, and amended bond conditions to include supervision and GPS.

Gary M. Wyant

Gary M. Wyant via VINELink

Allegations from the child victims were brought to the attention of authorities in May of this year after one child disclosed to his teacher Wyant was “grabbing (them) around the throat,” and zip tying the child’s hands and enclosing them in a cardboard box. The Affidavit of Probable Cause filed in Ray County continues to state the victims claim Wyant restrained them in a Lawson residence as early as June 2017.

In a separate interview, additional victims claim Wyant tied their hands behind their back with string or yarn and placed each of them in a cardboard box with the lid shut in May 2018. A victim claims she remained tied up overnight. Victims also allege Wyant increasingly spanked the children.

The statement also details how in the fall of 2017, a victim claims while tied up the child asked to be released, but Wyant told the child to go back to sleep restrained them.

In additional interviews, victims claim Wyant “tied (their) hands and feet together with zip ties like a ball, then carried (them) upstairs … and put (them) in a cardboard box.” Victims also claimed Wyant would, “hit (them) in the face a lot … He also used a belt to whip (them) on (their) butt through (their) clothing.”

The statement continues to detail Wyant used “the enforcer.” A witness “described ‘the enforcer’ as a piece of wood with holes drilled in it. The board had ‘the enforcer’ written on it.”

Police officials interviewed Wyant regarding the allegations on June 5, 2018. When police questioned Wyant, “(Wyant) advised that he had tied (them) up one time and put (them) in a box for a present … when (they) started yelling, (Wyant) let (them) out of the box.” When “questioned about tying (them) up with strings, (Wyant) started crying and said that he wanted his attorney.”

An interview later that month, one of the victims advised police “(they) had been tied up with (their) hands behind (their) back with green and black zip ties (Wyant) kept in the garage.” The victim continued to say Wyant restrained them approximately 10-12 times from the fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018. Additionally, the child said Wyant burned the boxes and zip ties the children had been tied up with so there wouldn’t be any evidence.

Court officials continued Wyant’s case to Nov. 13, for a Pre-Emptory Docket Hearing in Ray County Circuit Court at the courthouse in Richmond.

By Standard Staff •

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