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Couple accused of abusing, starving child to the point she suffered cardiac arrest

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Byron Buthman and Gwendalyn Buthman | Ada County Sheriff’s Office

KUNA — An Ada County man and woman are accused of abusing and starving a young girl for three years, ultimately causing her to suffer cardiac arrest.

Byron Buthman, 54, and Gwendalyn Buthman, 42, were indicted March 12 on two charges of felony injury to children, with an enhancement of infliction of great bodily injury during the commission of a felony.

The alleged abuse happened between October 2015 and March 2018 when the girl was 3 to 6 years old, according to the indictment. Court documents state the child went into cardiac arrest due to starvation.

The indictment lists many ways the Buthmans allegedly placed the girl “under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm and death” including:

  • Isolating her from her siblings and family.
  • Forcing her to eat while sitting on the ground and/or eat outside.
  • Making her sleep on the laundry room floor.
  • Making her sleep with no bedding and/or pillow.
  • Making her take cold showers and/or baths.
  • Only providing her with a protein powder/textured vegetable protein in place of meals.
  • Providing her only two sets of clothing for over a year as punishment for soiling herself.
  • Not allowing her to play and/or withholding all toys.
  • Forcing her to do inappropriate chores such as picking up animal feces.
  • If chores were not completed, forcing her to stay outdoors for extended periods of time.
  • Not allowing her to partake in celebrations.
  • Making her use a bucket to relieve herself.
  • Leaving her outside for extended periods of time without adequate clothing.
  • Not allowing her to be hugged and/or shown affection.
  • Not celebrating her birthday.
  • Not allowing her to be with her family on holidays.
  • Placing her in a group home.

Court documents do not detail how authorities learned about the situation and the girl’s current condition has not been released.

The Buthmans were booked into the Ada County Jail on Thursday and posted $10,000 bail Friday. They were arraigned Monday afternoon.

Byron Buthman is scheduled for his next court appearance on March 25. Gwendalyn Buthman is set to appear April 5.

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