Affidavit: Shelby County couple accused of locking up son put his life in danger with neglect

Affidavit: Shelby County couple accused of locking up son put his life in danger with neglect
Matthew McMahon (Source: Shelby County Jail)
Matthew McMahon (Source: Shelby County Jail)
Randa McMahon (Source: Shelby County Jail)
Randa McMahon (Source: Shelby County Jail)

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - New charges have been filed against the Shelbyville couple accused of locking a 4-year-old boy in a dog kennel and a closet for extensive periods of time.

Matthew and Randa Askew Faust McMahon each received an additional felony endangering a child charge because doctors determined the boy's potassium, protein, and albumin levels fell to low levels because of "chronic nutritional deficiency."

The couple was re-arrested on the child endangerment charges Wednesday.

When Matthew and Randa McMahon were first arrested in Somervell County back in June, they were charged with first-degree injury to a child. Their bail amounts were set at $200,000 each for the injury to a child charge.

The couple was transferred back to Shelby County on June 12.

According to the arrest affidavits for the child endangerment charges, the couple "intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or criminal negligence" placed the boy in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment by allowing his potassium, protein, and albumin levels to all fall to very low levels.

The affidavit said the child's potassium was at a "Dangerously low, life-threatening level" because of "chronic nutritional deficiency."

On June 1, the child was taken from the couple's custody. Four days later, the boy was admitted to Nacogdoches Medical Center for injuries he had on his buttocks and right arm, the affidavit stated.

At that time, the doctors and hospital staff determined that his albumin and protein levels were very low.
Dr. Modupe Sokunbi, the doctor who treated the boy, put the child on an IV for fluids that had potassium added to it. Because the staff at Nacogdoches Medical Center decided that the boy's potassium deficiency required a higher level of care. The child was transferred to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

Once the couple was arraigned in Shelby County, the arrest affidavits became open record and KTRE obtained the paperwork after filing an open records request to Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 Margie Anderson.

The affidavits detail more allegations of abuse, stating Randa McMahon, who is the child's stepmother, would also deprive the child of water and make him drink his own urine.

Witnesses say McMahon did this as a way to punish the boy for going to the bathroom on himself and for not eating his meals.

The affidavit states the investigation began on May 29, when an investigator checked into a report of the boy being kept inside a dog kennel and locked inside a closet as a means of discipline.

Investigators tried to see the child, but learned he and his step-mother were in North Carolina. They then decided to interview Randa McMahon's other three children, two adult women and a teen-aged boy.

The investigator interviewed the teen-aged boy, who lived with the family between November 2016 and March 2017. He said his mother would force the boy to sleep in a large dog kennel because he would go to the bathroom on himself and would even do it after staying in the kennel "for prolonged periods of time."

The teenager said the boy was also forced to be in an enclosed cargo trailer and on one occasion was in there with no food or drink for up to 24 hours. He said the boy was taken out of the trailer for lunch, but he would not eat lunch and so he was then put back in the trailer until the next morning.

He said the boy was deprived of water for long periods of time, sometimes up to several days. He also said the boy was whipped with a stick until his bottom bled. He also said the boy was once forced to drink his own urine as punishment for urinating on himself. He said his step-father was supportive in his wife's treatment of the boy.

Investigators interviewed one of the adult daughters on June 1 and reported she had a positive relationship with her mother and confirmed many of the allegations the teenager made, but justified them, saying "this was OK because children could safely go for several days without water." She also claimed the boy would break into the refrigerator at night to get something to drink. She said the boy refuses to eat food often, so her mother withholds liquid from him over a "very long period of time," only giving him an ounce or so of water over that time.

The second adult daughter also has a positive relationship with her mother and said the boy "has a problem with not wanting to eat" and did not get water as punishment for not eating, according to the affidavit. She said the boy was "a terrible child, was jealous, and was driving her" and her sister away from her mother. She also said the boy was beyond spoiled by his grandparents, according to the affidavit. However, investigators learned the boy rarely, if ever, got to see his grandparents.

The affidavit concludes that investigators determined Matthew McMahon was aware and supported his wife's actions and is just as criminally liable.

Shari M. Pulliam, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said CPS took custody of the boy, and he has been placed with other family members.

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