What would you do if you were afraid that your 6-year-old nephew was a little “too nice” and trusting of people he didn’t know: A) sit down and explain to him the dangers of talking to strangers, or B) stage an elaborate fake kidnapping complete with a gun and threats of sexual slavery?
If you answered A, Congratulations! You're almost certainly not reading this from a Missouri jail, where you're being held on a $250,000 bond. If you answered B, consider the following a public service announcement.
Denise Kroutil, a 38-year-old Missouri woman, allegedly found herself facing that same question this past week. After talking it over with the boy’s mother and grandmother, the trio opted for the elaborate-fake-kidnapping route.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Kroutil asked her 23-year-old co-worker, Nathan Wynn Firoved, to play the lead in the terrifying stunt that would ultimately end up landing them both in jail along with the boy’s mother, 25-year-old Elizabeth Hupp, and grandmother, 58-year-old Rose Brewer.
Firoved allegedly lured the boy into his truck after he got off the school bus on Monday. From there the bizarre attempt at creative parenting went from highly questionable to highly terrifying for the boy (via the sheriff’s office):
While in the truck, Firoved told the victim he would never “see his mommy again,” and he would be “nailed to the wall of a shed.” As the victim started to cry, Firoved showed him a handgun and told the boy he would be harmed if he did not stop crying. Firoved drove the victim around in his truck for an undetermined amount of time. Unable to stop crying, Firoved bound the boy’s hands and feet with plastic bags and covered his face, with an adult-sized jacket, making him unable to see.
Things, almost unbelievably, only got worse from there. Police say Firoved then took the boy (effectively blindfolded by the jacket) to the basement of his family's house. The big reveal, however, would have to wait for one final lesson from the boy's aunt:
While in the basement, the victim’s pants were removed by his aunt, Denise Kroutil, who angrily told the victim he could be sold into “sex slavery.” Kroutil was also upset the boy did not try to resist her.
Eventually, the boy was untied and told to go upstairs where his family was waiting with a lecture about talking to strangers.
The boy would later recount his story to school officials, who contacted child services, which in turn alerted police. “The family members felt like they did nothing wrong, and continue to feel like they have done nothing wrong,” Andy Binder, a representative of the sheriff’s office, told local news channel KSDK-TV. Police, of course, feel differently. The boy’s grandmother, aunt, and the aunt’s co-worker have all been charged with felony kidnapping, felonious restraint, and felony abuse and neglect of a child. The boy’s mother is charged with felony kidnapping and felony abuse and neglect of a child. All four are being held on $250,000 bonds.
The boy is currently in protective custody. It’s unclear what he may have learned about the dangers of strangers this week but he presumably discovered a thing or two about the dangers posed by his own family.