Two Palm Coast men were arrested on felony child abuse charges in separate incidents Tuesday. The children involved were 16 and 9.
Tuesday evening the 911 center received multiple calls from the same house on Redmill Drive describing a man attacking a woman and breaking down a door, in a house with five children under 18, the youngest being 9 and 10.
Screaming was still audible when a sheriff’s deputy arrived at the house at 8 p.m. A 36-year-old woman came out of an upstairs bedroom, where deputies found Jonathan Brent Howard, 38, and secured him. Howard said he and his girlfriend–the 36 year old–were just having an argument. She was standing in front of a bedroom door. He “nudged” her out of the way. End of story.
Witnesses told different accounts. The deputy spoke to the 9-year-old child, who said Howard was shoving her mom, causing the child to cry and telling Howard to stop. The child ran up to Howard and tried to hit him to get him off her mom, but “he grabbed her by her left arm and pushed her away very rough,” his arrest report states. Fingernail lacerations were visible on the child’s arm. The four other children corroborated the account of the confrontation to one extent or another.
The woman wanted to pursue child abuse charges but was initially unsure about a battery charge. The Department of Children and Families was called in: two of the children in the house are Howard’s, and were to be placed elsewhere. They were transported to the Palm Coast substation to await their transfer: Howard told DCF he did not want his children around his girlfriend, but he had no family locally.
He was booked at the county jail on a felon g child abuse charge and a misdemeanor battery charge. He posted bail on $2,000 bond, but was ordered to have no contact with his girlfriend or enter the residence on Red Mill.
The Tuesday incident took place at a Panorama Drive home, involving William Whedbee, 28, and his 16-year-old sister. They’d argued Monday night. On Tuesday, Whedbee asked his sister: “If I punched you in the face and then said I am sorry, would it be ok?”
“No,” his sister replied, “just like if I threw this water bottle at you, it would not be ok.” She then tossed the bottle, missing her brother. According to the sister’s account to sheriff’s deputies, her brother then lunged at her and put her in a chokehold. The siblings’ father intervened and separated brother and sister. But soon the altercation turned violent again.
The siblings’ parent would later tell deputies he thought his children were having a conversation in jest until he saw the older man jump at the 16 year old. The father explained that his son has a drinking problem that “causes him to become argumentative,”: according to Whedbee’s arrest report. The father “also stated that he feared what would happen if William Jr. remained in the home.” When Whedbee’s father warned him that he would be calling law enforcement, Whedbee allegedly told him: “That’ll be the last mistake you ever make.”
Whedbee told deputies he was having a “normal” arguments, as siblings do, and that it was being blown out of proportion. He said his sister tried to attack him after throwing the water bottle, and he was merely trying to restrain her. The sister’s neck and chest were visibly red and her arms had scratches, according to a deputy. Her brother had no visible signs of injury.
Whedbee is charged with child abuse and battery by strangulation, each a third-degree felony. He was trespassed from his home, ordered to have no contact with his sister, ordered to surrender all firearms to the sheriff and booked at the Flagler County jail on $3,000 bond. He is to be represented by a public defender. He remained at the jail Wednesday evening.
Why do people keep enabling these abusers.. I am talking about both the families AND the courts?
William Whedbee, Senior says
Sometimes things are not what they seem. First let me say that my daughter is fine both physically and emotionally. My son is a good person with a BAD addiction to alcohol. I want to thank the fine Flagler County Deputies for their professionalism in this matter. I would also like to thank the justice system in Flagler County for recognizing that my son, who has no criminal record, is in desperate need of help. Now, thanks to the court, the help he so desperately needs has begun. Anyone who has a family member, loved one or friend who is addicted knows that before they can get help, they have to hit “rock bottom”. This is my son’s rock bottom and I am thankful to God that in his descent to rock bottom no one was seriously injured. This matter is sensitive for my family, but in the interest of helping anyone else who may be going through a similar circumstance, I am completely open to talking about this matter with anyone. Please keep my family in your prayers. -W. Whedbee, Sr.
I sympathize with your situation, but you also have a responsibility to protect your other children from harm. You need to get a protection order preventing your son from coming around your home and other family members until such time that your son demonstrates that he is in full control of his behavior. Until that time you should inform him that although you love him, you do not approve of his behavior and you will no longer enable him. Tough love, but necessary to make sure everyone involved will be safe. Sometimes as parents we have to make hard decisions. You are not alone there. Please find a support group for parents of addicted children. It may help you understand the situation better and help you all on your path to recovery.
Mr. Whedbee – so sorry you have to go through this and so THRILLED to see your post. Palm Coast residents – or should I say – FlaglerLive readers have the unbelievable talent of judging everyone based on the stories they hear without knowing the personal situations. And they all seem to have the answers regardless of how officers or families have dealt with the situations. I pray for your sons recovery and your family to get back to peace.
Gee the crime here in palm coast is crazy! Time to relocate!!!! Asap
My heart breaks for the child trying to help her mother. My Grandchild went through a similar situation and is scarred to this day. I pray this mother doesn’t take him back.
William Whedbee, Senior says
Thank you Maryann. Your prayers are appreciated.
Mr. Whedbee–I hope these prayers and good wishes (which I am glad you are receiving) are supplemented with serious treatment–treatment that will involve your entire family. Addiction is something that everybody involved is going to need . The more in-depth it is and the more seriously it is taken, the better the chances for recovery. I am not saying this to judge you–It happens to be the truth. Good luck, sir.
I know Billy. He is not a bad guy. He is actually a really good dude going through some rough times. I hope things get better for him.