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Lebanon couple accused of chaining son indicted
Dec 21, 2004 12:00 am
A Lebanon couple accused of chaining and starving their teenage son have been indicted by a grand jury on child neglect charges.
A Wilson County grand jury returned indictments of child neglect against James C. Osborne III, 42, and Christine H. Osborne, 28, both of Lebanon.
In addition, James Osborne faces a second count of aggravated assault by failure to protect, possibly related to his own admissions to investigators he knew his wife was allegedly chaining their son to a bed.
The Osborne's case of alleged child neglect captured the attention of Middle Tennessee when Lebanon Police made the case public after the couple's September arrest.
"This has obviously been a very long process for the police officers involved," Lebanon Public Safety Commissioner Billy Weeks told The Lebanon Democrat Monday. "It has not been a pleasant time for anyone."
The Osbornes were charged after Lebanon police stated the couple's 15-year-old son had been chained and locked in their bedroom as his weight dwindled to only 49 pounds. Police said Christie Osborne claimed the restraints were used because the teen was a "troublemaker," and her husband gave investigators a statement basically admitting the youth was kept in bondage.
The teen – Christie Osborne's stepson – was hospitalized briefly but is now believed to be in state custody along with her three biological children, described by authorities as seemingly well cared for at the time the couple was arrested.
Officials involved in the case have reported the teenager's condition has improved rapidly since he was discovered confined and starving in the family's Wilson Avenue home in September. After only six weeks, the child grew four inches and gained almost 20 pounds, according to medical records introduced as evidence during his parents' preliminary hearing.
Updated reports about the boy's condition, however, remain allusive since a local judge issued a gag order to keep officials quiet about the case. The teen's current living status is also unavailable, but the 15-year-old was removed from the Osbornes home in September.
Weeks added his department has respected the gag order on comments about the child's health and welfare, adding the entire case had been "quite emotional" for his investigators.
"It's not a surprise the indictments came down," Weeks said. "Not a surprise at all."
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin and Staff Writer Cori Galeano contributed to this story.
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at email@example.com.