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Foster mom arrested for child abuse


By Jon Johnson

Children who are orphaned or are victims of cruelty by their biological parents often find themselves placed in foster care. Recently, a foster parent was accused of victimizing a child placed in her care.

Tammy Renea Andrews, 39, of Safford turned herself in to authorities and was arrested Wednesday on charges of child abuse, unlawful imprisonment and aggravated assault. A felony warrant for her arrest was issued by Justice of the Peace District 1 Judge Gary Griffith.

According to a press release from the Safford Police Department, officers were dispatched to residence in Safford on Feb. 11 in regard to a report of a 10-year-old boy being stabbed in the hand by his foster mother.

Officers Brian Avila and Sherri O'Neal responded to the address and observed the youth had blood on his hands and pants as well as several old scars throughout his body.

Subsequent investigation revealed the victim lived with Andrews at her residence on Santa Fe Street and had fled the home after he was attacked. He said Andrews stabbed him in the hand because she caught him stealing food from one of the cabinets.

Some of the other numerous allegations from the youth include being tied up with string and/or chains after Andrews' other children leave for school. He said Andrews refuses to feed him if he urinates or defecates on himself when he is tied up. Officers noted ligature marks and a swollen left shoulder, which the victim said was sore from being hogtied. The victim was also apparently dressed in the same clothing for the past week.

He said Andrews took him out of school and home-schools him, but he doesn't do any of the work. The workbooks are unused and Andrews does all the schoolwork on the computer, according to the victim. He is supposed to be in the third grade.

The victim was observed being covered in bruises and scars and stated Andrews repeatedly hits him with closed fists, a small baseball bat and a hammer. He said he has several loose teeth due to his beatings, and Andrews would get brown paper bags and put them over his head when he was tied up.

She allegedly did this so he could not see when she was going to hit him, according to the victim.

Additionally, it was discovered the victim had a BB lodged in his abdomen from when Andrews had allegedly shot him. He said he bled from the wound, but Andrews would not take him to receive medical attention.

During his interview with Safford detectives, the victim noticed a staple puller and said Andrews had used one like it to pinch his tongue.

He said she would take the staple puller and a pair of pliers and use them to pinch opposite sides of his tongue at the same time.

The victim's wounds matched his descriptions of the beatings, and items he said were used were found at the home during an execution of a search warrant. Some of the items listed in the search warrant include a ball-peen hammer, a cord with a knot tied in it, a movement alarm, numerous allegedly unused schoolbooks from a hall closet, a red rope leash, a choker chain collar, a black pellet gun and metal BBs.

After his interview, the child was placed into the care of Child Protective Services.

A thorough medical examination of the victim allegedly validate allegations of a long history of "significant abuse and neglect of the child" by Andrews.

A second warrant was served on the residence Feb. 24. Additional items were seized, and Andrews was arrested. The police investigation is ongoing.

Andrews was booked into the Graham County Jail on four charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, three charges of child abuse, unlawful imprisonment and an additional aggravated assault charge. Her bond was set at $100,000.

2010 Feb 28