All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
(Arapahoe, WY) – Arapahoe couple Truman Sitting Eagle and Kandace Sitting Eagle (aka Van Fleet) each face charges for assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and aggravated child abuse for reported events occurring between November 12 and December 12, 2023, according to federal Court documents.
Their initial appearance hearings are set to take place today, December 22, before the Honorable Judge R. Michael Shickich.
On December 12, the school resource officer at Arapahoe Schools was conducting a welfare check on a 13-year-old student who had not been to school in about a month, according to a Federal criminal complaint Court document filed by an FBI special agent on December 14.
The resource officer had reportedly been to the child’s residence several times to check on him, but was never able to make contact.
Truman, the student’s stepfather, initially told the officer that he was not in the home, but after the officer demanded to see him Truman “eventually relented,” and the student was found hiding in a crawl space under the residence.
The officer observed the student to have “significant bruising” on his ears, arms, chest and back; a “swollen” and “bruised” face; lacerations on his fingers, face, ear and scalp; and noted that he had lost a “significant” amount of weight since the last time the officer had seen him.
The student also told the officer that his legs hurt, and that he had barely eaten anything in several days.
Upon finding out that the student wrestled, he was asked how much he weighed at the last weigh-in, and the student said “128 pounds.”
It was later discovered he had dropped to 118 pounds since that time.
During an ensuing interview with the student, investigators learned that Kandace and Truman had started tying his bedroom door shut because he “had a bad habit of stealing food and hiding it in his room,” and he further stated that “none of this would have happened if he didnt do that.”
The student went on to state that he was able to get around the tied door, and that he continued to steal and hide food, which made his parents mad enough to get a lock for the bedroom door and screw the window shut so he couldn’t sneak out.
After about two weeks in his room, the student then commented he thought he was going to be let out for Thanksgiving, but he was not.
During this time the student said he “lost track of time,” that things became “foggy,” and that he “felt like an animal.”
The student said there were times he could hear Kandace yelling at him through the walls, saying he “had been there for a month,” and “wouldn’t he like to be out having fun with the family.”
When the student was given food during this time, it was “usually leftovers,” and if the parents found wrappers in his room, they would hit him in the face.
The student went on to say that Truman had on more than one occasion, choked him until he passed out, causing him to feel “tingling in his head,” until he felt “like spaghetti” and “numb.”
When the student would come to after the choking, Truman would continue to hit him in the face, which he said both he and Kandace would do with regularity.
Both Truman and Kandace would also hit him with a stick, which caused his hands to swell up “like balloons,” the student continued to share.
On another recent occasion when wrappers were discovered in his room, the student reported that Kandace kneed him between his legs hard enough to make him fall to the ground.
The student was ultimately transported to a local care provider, and subsequently air-transported to a children’s hospital in Utah.
A doctor at the children’s hospital went on to advise that in addition to his visible bruising and lacerations, the student had suffered a “fractured right nasal bone, a ruptured testicle, and healing lumbar fractures in his spine.”
Three of the student’s half-siblings were later interviewed, all of whom confirmed that Kandace and Truman would hurt him when he was caught stealing food.
The maximum sentence for an assault resulting in serious bodily injury charge is no less than 10 years to life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment fee.
The maximum sentence for an aggravated child abuse charge is 25 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment fee.
County 10 will provide updates on this case, which can be viewed here.