Two Utah men have been arrested after one of the men allegedly dragged his friend’s child across a street by a leash before tying the boy to a tree and smoking weed.
The 4-year-old boy’s father, 29-year-old Richard Marsh, and his friend Paul Rapp, 35, are now facing child abuse and drug possession charges, according to Deseret News.
“The child was wearing one of those backpack harnesses, the kind you can attach a leash to,” Detective Greg Wilking of the Salt Lake City Police Department told the New York Daily News.
On Sunday, witnesses told police they saw the child trip and fall on the ground while Rapp continued to drag the boy across the street, over a curb and through about 20 feet of wood chips.
According to jail documents, the boy had abrasions and scratches on his back above his waistline.
When Rapp and Marsh stopped walking, they allegedly tied the leash the boy was attached to around a tree, took out a glass pipe, and began smoking marijuana. Witnesses alerted police.
Jail documents said that the men tried to throw away the pipe after officers arrived.
KUTV News went to Marsh’s home to speak to family members about the case. Marsh’s brother, Johnny Smith — who answered the door wearing what appeared to be women’s undergarments — said this isn’t the first time the child had been tied up.
“I know why he chained him to the tree,” Smith told the station. “It’s something he does when we go fishing and stuff, because the kid has a tendency of going all over the place. Last time I had to save [the child] from going into the river.”
Smith also told the station that it was likely his brother was smoking weed, but denied that the boy had been dragged. He went on to say that his brother is a caring father.
“He’s a damn good dad,” he said. “He cares about his kids.”