Sioux Falls couple accused of drugging children, shocking them with cattle prod
Authorities say a Sioux Falls couple is facing charges for giving drugs to children and using a taser and cattle prod on them over several years.
Thirty-six-year-old Lance Long and 40-year-old Crystallyn Long face 14 charges, Capt. Josh Phillips of the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.
Phillips said the four children had been abused over a course of several years. They included three boys, ages 11, 13 and 17 and a 15-year-old girl.
The investigation began after authorities received a tip on May 13 about suspected abuse. Investigators say the couple used a cattle prod and taser to punish the children. They also gave them methamphetamine and marijuana.
Phillips said the couple was arrested after fleeing to Oklahoma.
An arrest affidavit lays out a years-long history of abuse the children faced, particularly at the hands of Lance Long.
The children's plight came to light when the 17-year-old reported it. He said was leaving to join the military, and he was concerned that he would not be around anymore to protect the other children. He said he did not report it sooner because he was concerned it would only make the situation worse.
Investigators went to the family's home on N. 10th Avenue in northern Sioux Falls to perform a welfare check. Crystallynn and the three younger children were present.
The children initially denied they were abused, but they later opened up to detectives when they were separated from Crystallynn.
Several of the children told detectives Lance was particularly hard on the youngest child, the affidavit states. He allegedly first tased the child when he was seven.
The youngest child told investigators Lance initially tased him when he misbehaved, but later did it for no reason, and said once he did it just because "it was funny." He said Lance most recently used a taser on him one week ago. Lance also allegedly attempted to show him pornographic images on his phone.
One child told detectives Lance would occasionally give children methamphetamine and marijuana, according to the affidavit. Lance told told them it was so they could learn about drugs so they wouldn't use them later on. The child said Crystallyn was around when Lance gave them the drugs, but did not give them out herself.
The affidavit also mentioned an incident where Lance repeatedly ran over a child with a three-wheel ATV. It also relates other stories of physical abuse at the hands of Lance. Detectives said an exam performed on the children revealed evidence of physical abuse.
Investigators also reached out to another sibling who no longer lives with the family. She called Lance a "cruel and evil person," and said he frequently abused her and her siblings.
During the initial visit to the family's home, detectives searched the residence and found a taser. When detectives asked Crystallyn if Lance ever used the taser on the children, she said he sometimes chases and threatens them with it, but never uses it on them.
The affidavit states detectives called Lance during the interview and asked if he would come in for an interview. Lance said he would not come in as he had an outstanding arrest warrant in Missouri. He said he would not speak to law enforcement without a lawyer.
The children were separated from the home following the initial search. Detectives interviewed the children in the ensuing days. During one of these interviews, a child said he suspected the couple had already left the state.
The couple did indeed flee the state during the investigation. Authorities eventually arrested them in Oklahoma.
They face 14 charges including aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, abuse or cruelty to a minor, distribution of a controlled substance to a minor. Phillips said additional charges are possible.