SMITH COUNTY, Texas — A Smith County couple, including a Tyler police officer, is out on bond following their arrest for allegedly abusing their adopted sons.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by CBS19, the two 13-year-old twin boys reported being physically abused by their adopted parents, Mark and Cheryl Layne, to their school resource officer at Whitehouse Junior High School on Sept. 13.
Tthe affidavit says the boys told the officer the abuse happened on Sept. 8 and Sept. 12, and they were afraid to go home.
The affidavit states the officer also saw bruises and redness on their bodies.
Child Protective Services (CPS) and a detective with the Smith County Sheriff's Office interviewed both boys separately.
The affidavits explains the Layne household includes four adopted children, including the twins, and two biological children of Mark and Cheryl Layne. The twins said during the interview, Mark and Cheryl treated their biological children and adopted children differently, including referring the children as the "adopted" and "biologicals."
According to the affidavit, the twins described both incidents of alleged abuse in detail during their forensic interviews. In the following descriptions, the twins will be referred to as 'CHILD A' and 'CHILD B.' (Warning: the descriptions in the following lines may be disturbing to some viewers.)
According to the affidavit, on Sept. 8, the twins said they were cleaning their room while Mark Layne was putting together a bunk bed. At some point, Cheryl came into the room and became angry. Cheryl allegedly grabbed CHILD A and slammed his head against the wall twice. Then, she allegedly grabbed an arrow used for archery to hit both children, urging them to work faster.
CHILD B says Cheryl threw CHILD A against a counter, wall and floor.
CHILD A reported during the interview, Cheryl said, 'I should use this arrow more, it will get them more in gear."
The boys say Mark told Cheryl to quit and leave.
According to the affidavit, on Sept. 12, the twins said they were at home making sloppy joes for dinner while Mark, Cheryl and one of their biological children went out to eat. When Mark and Cheryl returned home, Mark found the children had thrown away leftovers and became upset. Mark allegedly shoved CHILD B's face into the trashcan. Mark also allegedly took food in the trash and threw it on CHILD B's face.
In the affidavit, CHILD B said Mark allegedly began hitting CHILD B with his hand until the boy bled from his nose. Cheryl then allegedly told CHILD B, "Now it's time for my beating." She proceeded to allegedly hit the boy with a belt on his back, hand and buttocks. Then she allegedly took a plate of food and grease that had been in the trashcan and forced CHILD B to eat it.
According to the affidavit, CHILD B said Mark allegedly grabbed him and slammed his head against the trashcan.
CHILD A said he noticed blood from CHILD B's nose around the trash can. CHILD A said while he was trying to clean the blood, Cheryl allegedly kicked CHILD A in the stomach and told him to leave the room. CHILD A says when he left the room, he could hear CHILD B yelling. When he returned to the room, CHILD A says he saw Cheryl beating CHILD B with a belt.
The affidavit says the twins' sister, CHILD C, had witnessed both incidents. CHILD C is one of the adopted children.
On Sept. 8, CHILD C said she heard both boys crying and smacking noises. She says she went outside to avoid the confrontation and heard Mark say, "Calm down." CHILD C says she heard Cheryl reply, "Shut up and get out of my face."
On Sept. 12, CHILD C says she was in the shower after dinner when she heard a thud and yelling. CHILD C says she turned the shower off and heard several more thuds as well as CHILD B say, "Ugh," and "Please stop please."
CHILD C says she was called down to help clean the kitchen. She says she saw CHILD B eating a plate of food from the trash, crying and gagging from the food. CHILD C says CHILD B had food on his face and blood coming from his nose, as well as a puffy eye, red welts on his back and a red mark on his arm.
The affidavit says the boys told investigators CHILD C reported the incident to the school counselor.
According to the affidavit, a fourth child, CHILD D, who was also adopted by the Laynes, said during his interview he remembered CHILD B being scolded for throwing away food. CHILD D says he saw CHILD B being forced to eat food from the trash but left the kitchen during the incident. CHILD D says he heard CHILD B being spanked and yelping.
According to the affidavit, CHILD E, one of the Laynes biological child, said during her interview, CHILD B was hit and made to eat food from the trash for, "the chaos he caused." CHILD E says CHILD B was spanked by Cheryl and got extra licks for not remaining in the position he was told. CHILD E also says CHILD B was exaggerating his pain.
The affidavit states CHILD A told investigators Cheryl gets out of control when she hits him, starting with the buttocks but moves to the rest of his body.
The affidavit says both twins told investigators CPS has previously been involved with the family after Cheryl allegedly abused CHILD C. The twins said they were afraid to describe the incident due to Cheryl being in the same room during the interview. The boys both reported Cheryl said, "If you ever [sic] call CPS again I will kill you."
In the affidavit, both twins told investigators they were afraid for their lives and wanted to run away, knowing if they ran away three times, they would go to juvenile, where they say they felt safe.
The affidavit says CPS searched the Laynes' home, in the 7100 block of County Road 2192 in Whitehouse, where they found aluminum arrows and a brown belt on the kitchen table. A crime scene detective sprayed Luminscene, which helps investigators detect blood that has been cleaned, on the floor and around the trashcan and found evidence of blood. The affidavit says it is consistent with what CHILD A, CHILD B and CHILD C had told investigators.
According the affidavit, investigators took pictures of both twins. CHILD B had red marks on his back, shoulder and neck. CHILD B had bruising on his left arm and under his left eye. CHILD B also had red marks on his buttocks, where he said he was hit with the belt. CHILD A had bruising on his left bicep.
On Tuesday, arrest warrants were issued for both Mark and Cheryl charging both with injury to a child. Bond was set at $75,000 each.
Both individuals surrendered themselves and were booked into the Smith County Jail the same day and released upon posting bond.
According to Tyler police spokesman Don Martin, Mark Layne is a 21-year veteran of the Tyler Police Department as a patrol officer. Layne is on administrative leave.