JACKSON, Miss. – A 15-year-old boy was beaten and branded with hot metal after a confrontation with a 12-year-old girl at a party in Mississippi where teens had been drinking, authorities said Friday.
Five people are charged in the case, including the 12-year-old girl.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said Denise Randall, 46, was hosting the party in the east-central Mississippi community of Meridian last weekend when the victim bumped into the girl. Someone then called the girl's 15-year-old boyfriend.
Sollie said the boyfriend arrived and held the victim, who was not identified, at gunpoint while he was beaten and branded with hot metal. The sheriff said the teen was branded in more than one place on his body with a piece of hot metal shaped like a letter of the alphabet. He would not say what letter it was or release any other details about the branding because of the ongoing investigation.
The sheriff said the teen's injuries were not life-threatening.
One of the girl's close relatives disputed the sheriff's account. The Associated Press is not identifying the close family member to protect the girl's identity. The AP generally does not identify minors accused of crimes. The girl was charged as a juvenile.
The relative said the 15-year-old boy, who was not invited to the home, knocked the girl down and hit her in the face. The relative said Randall took the girl to the hospital. While Randall and the girl were at the hospital, the three other teens used a heated metal coat hanger to brand the boy by putting the girl's initials on one hand and the date on the other, the relative said.
"Everything (authorities) are saying is a lie, except the branding part. There was no drinking," the relative said. "The branding was true, and that was retribution because he climbed on top of her and beat her up."
The sheriff sees it differently.
"We're not going to try this case in the media, but what they're saying doesn't match up with the evidence," the sheriff said.
Randall was charged with directing a minor to commit a crime and accessory after the fact. She has been released on $50,000 bond, officials said. Another adult, 18-year-old Dustin Shane Armstrong, was charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping. He was jailed Friday on a $50,000 bond. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Two minors, including the girl's 15-year-old boyfriend suspected of taking a lead role in the abuse, were charged as adults with kidnapping and aggravated assault. The AP is not identifying them because they are juveniles.
A message left with Randall's attorney was not immediately returned.
(This version CORRECTS the spelling of the sheriff's name to Billy, not Billie.)
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