By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — Her grandmother thought the 4-year-old girl might have the chicken pox because of the red dots all over her body.
The child provided another explanation. She told investigators that her stepfather tied her hands behind her back and repeatedly shot her with an airsoft gun as a form of punishment.
A registered nurse at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett counted more than 36 red marks over the girl’s body, according to court papers. The toy gun fires plastic BBs designed to sting but not break the skin when they hit.
Stetson Tedder, 26, was arrested Thursday for investigation of felony domestic violence for an assault of a child and unlawful imprisonment.
Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office wrote in court papers they believe Tedder “knowingly inflicted bodily harm which by design caused pain as to the equivalent of that produced by torture.”
The child was taken into protective custody and state Child Protective Services was contacted. The child was placed with a relative.
The incidents allegedly took place earlier this month in a home in the 2700 block of Lincoln Way between Everett and Lynnwood.
The child said Tedder would use duct tape and zip ties to restrain her ankles and wrists behind her back, according to court records. Investigators described the restraint technique as being hog tied.
The girl described other punishments.
She told a child interview specialist that she once was tied up and made to pick up her messy room with her teeth.
She also described being made to sit with her back to a wall without a chair until a timer would ring, a position designed to cause pain in her legs.
Tedder told investigators that he would duct tape the girl’s wrists to restrain her for no longer than 30 minutes as a form of punishment, court papers said. He said his son was the one who shot the girl until he took the airsoft gun away from him. The toy gun was a Christmas present, court papers said.
The girl told investigators that her mom would leave the room when she was being shot because she didn’t want to hear her cry, court papers said.
Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui on Friday found probable cause existed for Tedder’s arrest. Bail was set at $25,000. Bui ordered him to have no contact with minor children.
The allegation is not an isolated case.
A St. Louis television station reported last year that a Missouri man was accused of shooting his 4-year-old son with a airsoft gun as a way of disciplining him.
The father in that case, 32, was charged with felony child abuse.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.