A 32-year-old Virginia mother has been arrested for allegedly keeping her son in an outdoor box trailer under such harsh conditions that the boy’s leg had to be amputated below the knee due to “severe frostbite.” While her son was relegated to living in a frozen box for several months, authorities said the woman kept more than 40 dogs on the property, all of which were found to be “healthy and well cared for.”
Rebecca Rubia Bremner was taken into custody last month and charged with one count of felony child abuse and neglect, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
Investigators also arrested 43-year-old Michael ShikPark in North Carolina on the same day and on the same charges as Bremner, in connection with the case. He is currently being held in Forsyth County as he awaits extradition back to Virginia.
On Jan. 19, deputies with the Russell County Sheriff’s Office and officers with the county’s animal control department executed a search warrant on Bremner’s Castlewood home in connection with an investigation into possible child abuse. Animal control personnel were brought in to assist deputies due to the “large number of dogs” seen on the property, authorities said.
According to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by Law&Crime, investigators located the boy and quickly transported him to a local hospital due to the “appearance of severe frostbite to his lower extremities.” Investigators wrote that the child’s feet were “noted to be black with surrounding yellow sloughing tissue and purulent drainage.”
After being admitted to the hospital, medical personnel said they had to perform a “bilateral emergent guillotine below the knee amputation” on the boy due to the severity of his condition.
In a subsequent interview with deputies, Bremner allegedly admitted to keeping the child in an outdoor trailer all winter.
“[T]he accused stated that the child had been living in a box trailer on the residence property for a couple of months, which had three heaters inside,” the affidavit states. “The child was given Poptarts/cereal for breakfast, honeybuns for a snack, and either burgers or spaghetti for food.”
Bremner also spoke to her son’s living conditions, explaining that the trailer did not have any windows and told investigators that when the back door was shut, “you can’t get out,” according to the document.
“The accused stated that the child had a toilet which they change about twice a week,” investigators wrote. “The accused stated that the child was given a bath in a hot tub which was located outside.”
Despite allegedly failing to provide adequate care for her child, authorities said they encountered “in excess of 40 dogs” on Bremner’s property that “seemed to be healthy and well cared for.” Even after her arrest, the sheriff’s office said that she refused to surrender the animals at the county’s request and instead made arrangements to have relatives feed and look after them.
Bremner is currently being held in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail without bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 10.
Read the criminal complaint below.
(images via SWVRJ/Forsyth County Sheriff)
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