A 6-year-old Missouri boy’s family were arrested for allegedly making him believe he was being kidnapped in order to teach him a lesson about talking to strangers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Authorities said the boy’s mother, 25-year-old Elizabeth Hupp, along with his 38-year-old aunt, Denise Kroutil and grandmother, 58-year-old Rose Brewer kept in touch via cell phone during the 4-hour incident. They also allegedly enlisted Kroutil’s co-worker, 23-year-old Nathan Firoved, to lure the boy into his truck after school on Monday.
Once there, Firoved allegedly told the boy he would be “nailed to the wall of a shed” and that he would never see his mother again. He then tied the boy’s hands and feet up with plastic bags while covering his head with a jacket.
CNN reported that, according to sheriff’s officials in Lincoln County, Kroutil asked Firoved to help the family because they felt the boy was “too nice” to people he did not know.
“Family members told investigators their primary intent was to educate the victim and felt they did nothing wrong,” authorities said in a statement.
After making sure the boy could not see where he was going, Firoved allegedly led him to the basement of his own home, where Kroutil took the boy’s pants off, warned him he could be sold into “sex slavery” and scolded him for not resisting her.
“The victim remained in the basement for some time before he was unbound and told to go upstairs, where the victim’s family lectured him about stranger danger,” officials said.
The boy informed school officials about the incident on Wednesday. On Thursday, Hupp was charged with abuse or neglect of a child and felony kidnapping. Brewer, Firoved and Kroutil face the same charges, plus additional charges of felonious restraint.
Watch a report on the arrests, as aired by KMOV-TV on Thursday, below.