Just before daylight this morning, April 6, two brothers, ages 15 and 17, managed to sneak out of their aunt and uncle's home in Youngstown and reach out for help from a trusted teacher to free their sister. Their sister, age 16, remained in the home, chained and locked in a closet, according to a news release from the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
Once school started, the two brothers went to Mosley High School and confided in a teacher who called the Bay County Sheriff's Office. The three children stated to investigators they originally came to live with their uncle and aunt, James and Tinnea Burns of Youngstown, in October 2007, after they were removed from their mother's care due to abuse.
When the two oldest children confessed to having skipped school on March 18, the aunt and uncle removed all three from school and told them that they would now be schooled at home, the release said.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the two oldest children were chained and locked in a bathroom in the home for three days, after which time the oldest brother was allowed to return to his bedroom. The sister was made to wear a dog collar, and was told that since dogs did not talk or walk on two legs she would not be allowed to speak and had to crawl on her hands and knees.
In one instance, she was made to eat out of a dog bowl on the floor, according to authorities. She was chained and locked in a closet each night where she slept on a foam mat.
James Wesley Burns, 39, and Tinnea Michele Burns, 33, of 6719 Oakenshaw Drive in Youngstown, have been arrested and charged with two counts of false imprisonment and two counts aggravated child abuse.