CLEARFIELD – A Clearfield man who’s facing several felony charges for allegedly abusing five children was scheduled for court on Wednesday.
Kyle V. Couturiaux, 35, is charged with conspiracy, aggravated assault (three counts) and child endangerment (five counts), all felonies, and simple assault, a misdemeanor.
Couturiaux waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, sending his case to county court for further disposition. He’s being held in county jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Jan. 15, Lawrence Township police received a report of possible child abuse involving a toddler boy.
The witness said she personally saw the child with welts all over his body, prompting an officer to respond to the residence and speak with the mother, April Eddy.
Police asked to see the boy, which she permitted. Above his left eye, the officer allegedly observed bumps and bruises; to the left, there was a small abrasion that had scabbed over and bruised.
With the mother’s permission, the officer pulled up the boy’s shirt and allegedly observed small abrasions or welts that were red in color on his chest and stomach.
The officer observed red and pale brown welt marks on the boy’s lower back, as well as pale brown welts across his neck and red welts across his left shoulder, according to the affidavit.
Further examination revealed the child had welt marks the entire length of the right side of his body, and a large U-shaped welt with a bruise on his right, front thigh that appeared “fresh,” police said.
On Jan. 16, Eddy took all five children to the Child Advocacy Center for forensic interviews, which revealed one child had fallen down the attic steps and this caused bleeding around his temple.
It was bedtime and Eddy was already in bed, but the child wanted snacks. The child reportedly slept in the attic because “mommy says so.”
When asked what happens when he gets in trouble, the child said “mommy” and Couturiaux smacks him. Afterwards, police spoke with Eddy, who said neither she nor Couturiaux hurt the child.
On Jan. 16, police contacted the original witness who said she went to Eddy’s residence the day before. She noticed the boy had something all over his face, and began to wipe it off.
This, she said, is when she noticed bruises all over his face, and believed it was abnormal. She pointed it out to a male relative of Eddy who indicated he was aware.
She said she saw a video he took of other injuries to the child’s back, upper shoulder and face. She said the children were also hungry and getting snacks in the kitchen.
She said Eddy and Couturiaux got into a loud argument in the living room, and Eddy threw something that appeared to be some type of a child’s walker toy, which struck Couturiaux in the stomach.
She and Eddy’s two relatives left and went to Curwensville, where they remained that night. She said they didn’t try to intervene or confront the couple about the child’s injuries.
She said she had only been to Eddy’s apartment one other time, and when she saw the boy’s injuries, she felt it was beyond “normal discipline” so she found it necessary to report possible abuse.
Her story was corroborated by a relative of Eddy, who added that they have tried to intervene in the couple’s domestic fights, and it’s only made Eddy mad.
He said in the past, he’s witnessed Eddy and Couturiaux throw things at and strike each other. He was also asked about the video he recorded of other injuries to the boy.
The night prior, Jan. 14, the relative said he stopped by Eddy’s residence and observed the injuries, and because it appeared to be from abuse, he documented the injuries in a video.
He said when he got there, the boy was holding his head and saying “Ow,” and he saw blood coming from his temple area. The boy then pointed to his back, which led to discovery of the recorded injuries.
The video reportedly shows visible injuries to the boy’s face, back and upper shoulders. He also said he’s observed injuries on the children before, and two in particular.
When asked if he had witnessed abuse, he said he saw Eddy hit one child with a belt in August, and he walked in on Couturiaux slapping a child he had pinned down on the floor by the throat.
He questioned what happened and was told the child had spilled something, and not to question how he (Couturiaux) chose to discipline the children.
Another time he saw Eddy slap a child who threw something while in the bathtub. He said Couturiaux also came in to slap the child immediately after Eddy.
During a birthday party in summer 2021, the relative said Couturiaux picked up one child by the throat, and later the child said he didn’t want to go home because “mommy hits him.”
Several times, he said, he’s heard Eddy and Couturiaux yelling at the children and seen Eddy hitting three of her children with a closed fist and Couturiaux with an open hand or backhand.
The relative said he’s seen the children with red marks on their faces, and bleeding from their lips or faces. He also recalled seeing one child with black eyes a few times.
Anytime he asked Eddy how the child got the black eyes, she claimed it was from “rough-housing” at home or that it happened at school.
When he was at Eddy’s home, he often saw her young daughter left in her crib with the door closed or her young son left in his car seat or on the couple’s bed.
The relative said the couple had very little interaction with their two youngest children, and there’s been several occasions he’s had to change overly full diapers.
He said he advised another relative of the boy’s injuries, and both agreed a report needed made to police. He said they went back Jan. 15 to take more photographs and check on the children.
However, they never had the opportunity because the domestic altercation broke out, and Eddy had previously warned them not to intervene.
He said he was aware the couple abused drugs and that Eddy has snorted drugs in front of her children. He said Couturiaux has smoked drugs with them “roaming” through the residence.
There was also a time the couple reportedly “disappeared” for a period of three weeks, leaving the children in his care and it cost him his job because he couldn’t work.
The relative said sometimes there was no food in the house, and he had to go to the store. He said Eddy yelled at him and stated if she wanted food for “those kids,” she’d get it herself.
A second relative of Eddy said on Jan. 14, Eddy hit one of her children with a belt. He heard yelling and crying, so he went upstairs, and took the belt from her. He threw it in another room.
Following discussion with CYS on Jan. 19, police took protective custody of all five of Eddy’s children. The children were subsequently turned over to CYS workers.
On Jan. 25, police contacted CYS and requested documentation of any prior reports of abuse or neglect made against Eddy or Couturiaux, and a total of five reports were received in 2021.
On Oct. 7, 2021, it was alleged that Couturiaux was using drugs, and had been arrested for possessing drugs and paraphernalia. Eddy’s history of drug use was also noted.
Couturiaux was supposed to complete a drug test but failed to appear for a custody hearing. The children were also reportedly being left without supervision and to fend for themselves.
On Oct. 12, 2021, there was a report made about one of Eddy’s children having a bruise under his right eye and cheekbone when he came to school.
On Oct. 26, 2021, a referral source (RS) reported one of Eddy’s children was experiencing tooth pains, and had been screaming/crying all day.
He typically ate a lot and kept active, and the source said, he wasn’t acting himself. They had attempted to contact several relatives, but there had been no response.
It was noted the child was referred to a pediatric dentist but was never seen and the source said they weren’t sure why Eddy never took him.
The child “has teeth that are rotted and decaying down to his gums,” according to the report, and “RS can never get a hold of the mother or stepfather.”
On Nov. 29, 2021, it was documented that Eddy had one prenatal visit at 28 weeks during her whole pregnancy. She claimed she couldn’t make her appointments because she didn’t have childcare.
It was also unknown if her baby had any disabilities or delays, but intubation was required and the baby was transferred to Geisinger’s NICU in Danville.
CYS workers told police numerous attempts were made to speak with the couple regarding these allegations, but no one ever came to the door when they went to the home.
On Jan. 28, police spoke to a woman who had dated one of Eddy’s relatives. She recalled an incident where two of Eddy’s very young children were in the bathtub – unsupervised.
When she entered the bathroom, the baby was allegedly under water and turning blue. She removed him from the tub and he was revived.
The woman indicated both Eddy and Couturiaux had a drug problem, and recalled being at their home and noticing one of the children with a large burn on his arm that had become infected.
She mentioned the burn to Eddy, but she denied the issue and refused to seek medical treatment. So, the woman said she cleaned and bandaged the wound the best she could.
She said another incident occurred when a child dirtied his diaper and wasn’t changed. She said he ended up smearing it all over, and afterwards, she heard Eddy smacking him.
The woman said she often heard Eddy yelling at her children and calling them names. She also reportedly observed bruises on them, and witnessed the couple hitting the children.
She said when Eddy’s daughter was an infant, she was in her crib in the dark – alone – and that the child’s diaper was regularly “soaking wet.”
Eddy would ask the woman to watch her children but then disappear sometimes for days or a week at a time, according to the affidavit.
Eddy used her children as her “personal punching bag,” the woman told police, which obtained a search warrant for the couple’s residence on Jan. 28.
There, officers observed the couple’s van parked in the driveway, but there was no answer when they knocked repeatedly on the front door.
After five minutes, an officer broke a window in the front door. He reached in to try to open the door, but there was a chain lock that prevented entry.
Eventually, Eddy came to the door and let officers inside, and Couturiaux emerged from upstairs. Both were directed to stay seated on the couch as the home was searched.
They were asked if they were wearing any belts, and Couturiaux turned his over to police. It reportedly matched the marks on the back of one child.
Officers searched upstairs and discovered an attic in the bedroom of the two youngest children. The doorknob had a lock, which would prevent someone for entering the room from the attic.
Inside the attic, police found clothing, books, air conditioning units, a mattress and other miscellaneous items. A strap, which appeared to be for a bag or purse, was also found there.
Because it had a pattern that was similar to one child’s injuries, it was seized as evidence. Two children’s belts were found in a room shared by three children.
On the mattress, which was directly across from the doorway, were stains that appeared to be blood. Dark red and brown stains were also observed on the pillow.
Clothing, blankets and shoes made it difficult to walk down the hallway, police said, and food was found in piles of clothes, along with empty soda cans throughout the residence.
In an upstairs bedroom, officers reportedly observed a scale with what appeared to be a white residue. An unknown residue was found in other locations in the bedroom and bathroom.
The kitchen, dining and living areas were all in disarray with open cupboards and items scattered about. The couch was blanketed with items, which made it difficult to sit there.
Multiple at-home urinalysis drug testing kits were found under the couple’s bed, along with empty boxes from used kits. On the dresser, there was a used kit with what appeared to be urine on it.
The officers didn’t seize this test, nor did they check the result, according to the affidavit. When the search was over, Eddy and Couturiaux were advised of the active child abuse investigation.
In an interview with police, a neighbor recalled one time hearing a child drying for about 30 minutes straight. She said it was heartbreaking to hear through a wall she shared with him.
Police were contacted by a former neighbor of the couple who had filed multiple reports of suspected child abuse when they lived in Philipsburg.
She said she believed Eddy was “drugging” the children to help them sleep because while at a birthday party, they were falling asleep right at the table.
She also recalled an incident when she arrived home to find Eddy’s baby outside in a walker “rolling” through the parking lot. She returned the child home where Eddy was found inside.
The woman said another time, the children were left with an “inappropriate caregiver” and one child got a lighter, and while playing with it, he caught his room on fire.
She said she heard Eddy screaming at the children and loud thumps against the wall, which were followed by children screaming.
On March 14, a follow-up interview was conducted with one of Eddy’s children at the CAC-CC. He was asked why he no longer lived with his mom, and replied “she smacked me too many times”
Then, he said “he’s hit me too many times,” and when asked who, the child said “mommy” and Kyle “hit me too many times, too.”
When asked if anything was used to hit him other than a hand, the child said “yeah,” and when asked if anyone ever told them to stop, he stated: “they don’t stop.”
Near the end of the interview, the child was asked if there was anything else he wanted to tell, and he said he didn’t want to live with Eddy and Couturiaux because they smack him.