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Raleigh parents accused of mentally abusing pre-teen child

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - A Raleigh pre-teen was forced to spend years in extreme isolation and suffered "serious mental injury," at the hands of her parents, arrest warrants state.

Russell and Lindsey Smith, of Spyglass Way, are each charged with felony negligent child abuse inflicting serious physical injury, and misdemeanor child abuse.

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In court Wednesday, a Wake County prosecutor said the Smiths forced the girl to stand in a corner for hours, even days at a time, and didn't allow her to speak with any of her siblings, or anyone but her parents.

According to warrants, the abuse took place from April 1, 2016 to May 30, 2018. 

The prosecutor said the Smiths took their daughter out of school two years ago. They smacked her in the face and pulled her hair. The prosecutor went on to say the victim was treated differently the couple's other children, adding that one of those siblings corroborated the claims of abuse.

Lindsey Smith appeared in court Wednesday, while Russell Smith appeared via video.

An attorney for the couple said they have four children, as well as an adult with special needs.

The attorney said the Smiths plan to "fight the charges against them." 

Russell Smith proclaimed his innocence, while asking for a bond reduction.

"I live in Raleigh. I own a house in Raleigh. I own a business in Raleigh. There's nothing I'd like better than to come back and clear my name," Smith said.

Property records show the family moved into their home on Spyglass Way in April 2016. 

Several neighbors said they rarely, if ever saw the family, but were totally shocked by the abuse allegations.

One neighbor said he "didn't have a bad thing to say," about the Smiths. Several neighbors noted the family held a large weekly meeting for a church group in their home.

Neighbors also said they saw police officers at the home multiple times last week, as well as CPS investigators.

Arrest warrants showed Russell Smith was arrested on May 30 for "striking a female in the upper eye." Prosecutors said that victim was one of the couples other children which triggered a CPS investigation.

The couple's attorney said he was hired to represent them in the open CPS case, and encouraged them to turn themselves in on the abuse charges.

Bond for each was set at $100,000.

The attorney said there is a hearing Thursday for the open CPS investigation.
Russell Smith, 47, and Lindsey Smith, 38, are both scheduled to appear in Wake County court on the abuse charges June 27, at 9:00 a.m.

The judge said, if convicted, the felony negligent child abuse charges carried a sentence of up to 47 months in prison. The misdemeanor child abuse charges carried a 150 day sentence.

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