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Westmoreland Co. Father Accused Of Locking 9-Year-Old In Closet Faces New Child Abuse Charges

UNITY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) - A Westmoreland County father who is already accused of locking his 9-year-old boy in a closet is now facing charges for allegedly hitting his son with a piece of wood.

According to the criminal complaint, Shawn and Tammy Jo Waulk went to a birthday party and left their 9-year-old son alone at their Unity Township home.

They allegedly put him in a closet and used a drill to screw in wood slats across the door so he could not escape. Investigators say the boy was in there for an hour and a half.

Shawn and Tammy Jo Waulk
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Police say the boy told them that he had been barricaded and trapped in a closet on three occasions. He told investigators he escaped one time and got into trouble.

The couple said they started using the closet as a time-out space and had recently secured the door to keep their son from escaping.

Investigators say Shawn Waulk admitted his son would not be able to escape the room if there was an emergency while they were away from their home.

The couple is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, false imprisonment and recklessly endangering the welfare of another person.

Now, as the investigation continues, Shawn is facing more charges.

According to new court paperwork, the boy told a worker at the Mercy Hospital Child Advocacy Center that his father had recently assaulted him, leaving significant bruising.

The boy said Shawn allegedly hit him with a piece of wood across his legs and backside. The criminal complaint says the boy was told to say he fell down the steps if anyone asked.

Police requested a summons be issued for Shawn on assault charges.

Trooper Steve Limani says the latest criminal charges are "uncalled for, ridiculous and against the law, and unfortunately, Mr. Waulk is going to find out the hard way."

KDKA's Ross Guidotti stopped by the Waulk's Manor Avenue home. Neighbors said off-camera that the couple was evicted and just moved out yesterday.

The boy is now in the custody of relatives. The Waulks are free on $25,000 bond.

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