Two Parsons residents made first appearances on Friday on charges alleging abuse of a child.

Nathan L. Leatherwood, 22, and Halle Y. Parish, 22, both of 3310 Grand, are charged in Labette County District Court with abuse of a child and aggravated battery, both mid-level felonies that could be punishable by prison upon conviction. Leatherwood faces an additional count of domestic abuse, a misdemeanor, for allegedly battering Parish.

The charges relate to a police investigation on Monday. On that day, police accompanied the Kansas Department for Children and Families workers to a home in the 3300 block of Grand on an anonymous tip of child abuse involving a 2-year-old girl.

Officers met with DCF staff and conducted a followup visit. While at the house the investigation revealed that the abuse reports were sustained and the child had a large amount of bruising that would not constitute normal discipline measures, according to a release from Parsons police. Because of the extent of the bruising and possibility of broken bones the child was transported to Children’s Mercy Hospital for a medical evaluation after being placed in police protective custody. Leatherwood and Parish were arrested.

On Friday, Leatherwood and Parish made first appearances at separate times through the Zoom online meeting platform while they were in the Parsons police lockup.

Judge Steve Stockard read the charges to both of them and asked about attorneys and bond. Both received court-appointed attorneys, Shane Adamson for him and Linus Thuston for her.

Stockard set bond at $25,000 for each of them. Leatherwood and Parish said they could possibly make that.

Parish asked “what” after Stockard read the first charge alleging abuse of a child. Stockard asked if she could hear what he said.

“I can hear you. I’m just not understanding. I never hurt her.” Stockard told her she would have time to defend herself on the charges and that he was just reading the allegations filed against her.

Both Leatherwood and Parish will return to court on Dec. 14. They were both ordered to refrain from contact with each other and with the alleged victim in the case. 

In the police department’s prepared statement on the alleged crime, Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks said, “I am at a loss for words on cases like these. We hope as a society that we have evolved into caring and compassionate human beings, but then cases like this rear their ugly head and the reality sets in. There is evil lurking in every corner of the world and this is evident even in our small city. As we try to move forward and do good in Parsons, we are reminded that as a community we have failed to protect this innocent child from being victimized. This is what haunts law enforcement officers daily. It’s not the chases or the fights or the constant vigilance, it’s the failed interventions which have to be triggered by community members, and the looks on the faces of victims. I sincerely hope that as a community and the system as a whole, we can reach out and get this child the help that is needed and deserved to get her through this abhorrent period of her life. We will continue to face these evils daily, not only for the silent majority of supporters, but for the innocents that have no guardian to shield them.”

This continues to be an ongoing investigation and citizens are encouraged to “see it, hear it, report it.” Anyone with further information on this incident or any other criminal activity can contact the Parsons Police Department at 421-7060, the tip line at 421-7057 or email tips@parsonspd.com.

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