SUNDANCE — A Moorcroft woman has been arrested on 16 separate counts of child abuse as well as one of aggravated assault and battery.
Karey Hedlund’s alleged victims accuse her of years of mental and physical abuse ranging from locking them in cages to withholding meals.
According to reports from a Crook County Sheriff’s Office deputy, an investigation was launched at the beginning of June into a report of “abusive and neglectful behavior” by Hedlund toward some of her adopted children.
The victims reported incidents that allegedly include being struck with a wood back scratcher, the edge of a wood paddle and the handle of a flyswatter and being locked out of the residence during the day, sometimes without access to food or water.
According to court documents, Hedlund allegedly locked the children in their rooms overnight and screwed shut the screen on the bedroom window. She is accused of punishing the children by striking their hands and genitals with a mallet, and one victim claimed that Hedlund had strangled her until she lost consciousness, later waking in a cold shower with Hedlund putting spoonfuls of sugar in her mouth.
The deputy who initially interviewed the alleged victims later reported that he had some chips and jerky in his patrol vehicle, which the “ravenous” children ate “continuously.”
During forensic interviews, the victims described a long list of incidents involving Hedlund, including being pushed outside in underwear as it was starting to snow.
Hedlund is accused of biting a victim’s fingers until they bled as punishment for biting fingernails; withholding meals when the children do not obey orders; slapping the victims and pulling their hair; and chasing victims with a four-wheeler.
Hedlund is accused of locking one victim in a pet cage for 2.5 days as a punishment. The victim was allegedly not let out of the cage to use the toilet, and Hedlund is accused of pouring bleach into the cage to clean it while the victim was still inside.
In another alleged incident, Hedlund tied a victim to a beam outside her bedroom for two weeks after he was caught taking food on a day when he didn’t have anything to eat.
One victim described being grounded for up to nine months and made to sleep on the floor without a blanket, while another was allegedly tied to a chair that was then turned upside down and propped against a wall, then left overnight.
Hedlund also allegedly fed one victim pills, following which he was “always sick.”
According to court documents, she would then post on social media about needing money to help her sick kid.
Each of the 16 felony counts of child abuse of which Hedlund stands accused carries a maximum penalty of ten years of incarceration, a $10,000 fine or both. The felony charge of aggravated assault and battery carries the same potential penalty.