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Silverdale couple arrested, charged in child-torture case
A Silverdale couple has been arrested and charged in a child abuse and torture case that gives even seasoned law enforcement officers pause.
“This is the kind of case, when you read the probable cause statement, that makes you queasy,” said Deputy Scott Wilson, a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Brandon Pernell Gunn, 27, and Viviana Alma Gunn, 34, who share a home in the 1100 block of NW Cloninger Court in Silverdale, have both been charged in Kitsap County Court with kidnapping in the first degree, unlawful imprisonment, four counts of assault in the second degree.
The child torture case unfolded when Bremerton police officers found a 13-year-old boy sleeping on a city bus park bench. They noticed that he had numerous injuries that needed immediate medical attention and he was transported to Harrison Memorial Hospital where he was treated for numerous cuts and abrasions as well as infections in his hands and feet. The boy told police that he sustained the injuries while living in the Cloninger Court home of his brother and aunt.
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputies took over the investigation and noticed numerous injuries on the boy’s head, face, chest, abdomen, back, arms, legs, hands and feet.
“These injuries vary from fresh open wounds to wounds that are in the process of healing,” a police report states. “The injuries appear to be caused by blunt objects, cords and other sharp objects.”
The boy told deputies that he moved to his brother’s home from out of state in May of 2012. He said that the abuse began after this school year ended when he was accused of stealing something and was hit repeatedly with an electrical chord.
He said the assaults became frequent over time and usually occurred in the garage at the home, but also took place in the cellar and his bedroom. He said that Brandon and Viviana called the assaults “sessions” that were conducted as punishment “for not doing chores or any other reason they chose.”
“During the last ‘session’ his hands, feet and mouth were duct taped after they found out he snuck out of the cellar (after being sent there as punishment) to get some food when no one was home,” according to a probable cause statement. “He was then beaten with the baseball bat after being duct taped. He was able to remove the duct tape from his mouth with his fingers and chew the duct tape off that banded his hands together. He then forced the cellar door open and fled.
He remained on the streets for approximately two weeks before being contacted by law enforcement.”
Police say that the boy described some of the abuse that he endured at the hands of Brandon and Viviana, to include the following:
• He was sent to the garage where his arms and legs were duct taped to a chair as well as tape being placed over his eyes and mouth to prevent him from seeing or screaming. He was then hit in the head, torso and legs with a baseball bat and metal bars, losing consciousness at times.
• Brandon and Viviana had put his hand in a bench vise, tightened the vise jaws and drove a nail through his hand with a hammer. The boy stated he could see the nail coming through the other side of his hand. A knife was also heated and placed near where the nail was driven in.
• His hands were duct taped over his head to vertical bar and then he was hung from a wooden rafter in the garage and beaten with the bats and metal bars.
• Viviana would heat up a knife with a lighter and started cutting him with it.
• During another “session” Brandon used a large construction staple gun and punished him by inserting staples into his right palm numerous times.
• A hammer was used to strike his feet repeatedly.
• Zip ties were sometimes used to secure his arms to the chair prior to a beating.
• The boy was forced to strip down naked and stay in a portable dog kennel on two occasions for two to three days at a time with no food or water. The kennel was secured with a ratchet style tie down to prevent him from escaping.
• The boy was forced to stay in the dark, cold wine cellar for four days and when he escaped to get some food he was punished by having his hands, mouth and eyes duct taped and then beat with a baseball bat and struck on his penis multiple times. The boy was only given a bottle of water and a pill from Brandon each day. He stated the pill made him tired and sleepy.
• Viviana would use a spray bottle of alcohol and spray it directly on his open wounds to get a reaction from him.
Physicians at the hospital examined the boy and determined there were no broken bones but that he had numerous infections from his open wounds. The doctor advised that the boy had a broken piece of metal in his hand, possibly from the nail.
The boy described various areas in the home — including the vise and work bench — where officers would be able to find his blood and some of the instruments used to torture him.
After talking with the boy, police obtained a search warrant to search the Cloninger Court home and interviewed Brandon and Vivian. Both denied abusing the boy.
“When Brandon was asked about the “sessions” he stated that referred to “Ass Whooping” in video games that he and his friends joked about,” a police report states. “We then asked Brandon if he ever hit (his little brother) and he stated he would give him a whooping. He explained whooping as hitting him with a belt on his back side no more than three times.”