Parents force 14-year-old to stay in woods for eating Pop Tart

Photo Credit: The State

A 14-year-old girl was forced to live in the woods in a tent for eating a Pop Tart without her parents’ permission. Her parents were arrested this week.

South Carolina-based parents James Drigger and his wife Crystal, was arrested for refusing to allow their child to enter their home for two days. The office of the Sumter County Sheriff said that 33-year-old James and 36-year-old Crystal expected their daughter to remain out of the house for an entire week for eating a Pop Tart without their knowledge.

According to the police reports, the Drigger parents ordered their daughter to set up a tent in a wooden area known to have wild hogs. She was given a roll of toilet paper, a flashlight, a whistle and a watch. She was told that if she wanted to receive food, she could meet “someone” at a fence around the family’s property at specific times during the day. On one afternoon, her brother delivered her an open can of Spaghetti-Os with a plastic spoon.

When thunderstorms hit their town on Thursday night, the child still remained left alone in the woods. When the teenager’s grandmother found out where she was, she went into the rain to take the child to her own home which was just around the corner.

The grandmother returned the child to her parents on Thursday night but the child was sent back outside. On Friday afternoon, police found the girl in the tent, more than a quarter-mile away from their home.

During the investigation, it was learned that in the previous month, the child has already gone through this – she was sent away from home at 8 am and she was not permitted to return until 6 pm. Police said that the Drigger couple claim that the child is a “problem child” and this was not the first time she has been in trouble. They had caught her eating Pop Tart bars without permission recently, thus the punishment.

“She couldn’t return for any reason. Not to get a drink, not to use the bathroom, nothing,” Braden Bunch, police spokesman, said.

Bunch pointed out that their county had been experiencing temperature issues with heat surpassing 100 degrees. It is not recommended for people to be outside of the comfort of their homes.

The Driggers have five other children and four of them were in the home at the time that the 14-year-old girl was outside. As of now, the four siblings are in the custody of their grandparents while the 14-year-old is in the custody of the South Carolina Department Social Services.

“We feel very confident that the parents were overstepping their bounds. From trying to correct a child’s behavior to true criminal punishment,” Bunch said.

The Drigger parents have been charged with a single count of unlawful neglect of a child. More possible charges could be filed in the coming days as the investigation continues.

However, according to The Daily Beast, employees of the Drigger’s business, Team Beachbody, said they were “both great parents. One of the business’ coaches named Stella McCauley claims that the Driggers do not deserve the treatment.

“I don’t understand why people have to start drama and BS for them. They have a successful business and have worked very hard to get where they are,” McCauley said.