ALVA — As a mentally challenged man screamed and pleaded for his torture to end, his attackers held him down, shot him repeatedly with paintball and BB guns, and branded him with searing coat hangers.
“Mommy, mommy,” the victim screamed, to no avail.
His torturers videotaped the episode, with one so proud of his work he listed his own name as the video’s director, producer and star.
Now, two Alva men face felony charges in the undated video. A Woods County judge set bail at $75,000.
“It was a gruesome assault,” said Ben Orcutt, Alva’s assistant police chief.
The victim, Harry Dahling worked with Jesse T. Wallace and Marvin Michael Tarver at a local food processing plant.
Police confirmed the victim is autistic and said he had trouble answering questions about the assault.
“He may be 20 or 21 years old, but he acts like a juvenile,” Orcutt said.
This happened here, in my home state, about 2 hours drive from my house. When I read about it in yesterday’s paper I was almost physically sick. It felt like a punch in the stomach to read about Harry Dahling crying out for his mother as he was tortured.
My autistic son is on the sofa next to me, having fallen asleep in my lap while we watched a movie. He is happy and safe.
But the fear and loathing that has been in my throat since I read about Harry will keep me awake for much of the night. Like every parent, I am concerned with my childrens’ futures, but unlike most parents I don’t have a default cut off point to stop worrying. He will likely need some assistance for the rest of his life.
Will he ever cry out for me when I’m not there?