NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Northampton police are charging a man and woman with attempted murder after they say the pair tried to hang a nine year-old girl by her own jump rope.
Lance M. Gouvan, 34, and Megan R. Bonny, 26, who both listed their addresses as "the streets of Northampton" were arrested a short time after Thursday afternoon's incident.
Northampton Police Capt. Scott Savino told 22News that police were called to 78 Pomeroy Terrace around 12:50 P.M. The property is home to Cutchins Programs for Children and Families , which caters to children with emotional and behavioral problems. Staff members had told police they found the nine year old student with a jump rope around her neck- the other end tied to a tree branch.
Once they arrived, the victim, who did not have to be taken to the hospital, told police that about a half an hour earlier, she was playing with her jump rope in the lower field behind the Cutchins program. She had been with a staff member, but the staff member had left and walked up to the program's buildings. When he left, the victim said, a white man and woman came out of a wooded area and into the field.
The two walked toward the middle of the field, where there was a plastic traffic cone. The victim told police the man picked up the cone, and using it like a megaphone, began yelling obscenities at her.
The victim told police the woman then told the man to take the girl's jump rope and tie her up. The man then allegedly took the jump rope, grabbed the girl by her hair, and dragged her about 15-20 feet to an area with overhanging branches, telling her that if she made a noise he would "punch her in the face."
According to Savino, the man then tied one end of the jump rope to a branch, picked up the girl by her hair again, lifting her up until she was standing on tiptoe, and tied the other end tightly around her neck. The two ran away with the girl left hanging, supported only by the tips of her toes.
Another Cutchins employee discovered the girl and untied her from the tree.
Savino says the victim had given a physical description of her attackers, and told police that the man was carrying an orange backpack and the woman had a pink backpack.
Gouvan and Bonny, who matched the description, were arrested a short time later as they were walking near 197 Main Street. Savino says the two were carrying the described backpacks.
Savino told 22News the two were charged with attempted murder for leaving the girl hanging from the tree, as well as assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (the jump rope) and two counts of assault and battery for the two separate occasions where the girl was grabbed by the hair.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges during their arraignment at Northampton District Court on Friday. They were ordered held without bail until a dangerousness hearing on Tuesday.