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Jefferson City parents charged with child abuse

The parents of two young Jefferson City girls were arrested and charged for burning their children with spoons.

Police arrested Darshan Gandhi on Tuesday and arrested his wife Bhakti Gandhi Thursday after the Missouri Department of Social Services received a call on its child abuse hotline.

Darshan is charged with two counts of felony child abuse resulting in serious injury and Bhakti is charged with felony child abuse and felony first-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

According to court documents, police said Darshan told officers he had threatened his two daughters with hot spoons.

Investigators found the 5-year-old and 9-year-old girls had multiple burns on their bodies from hot spoons.

The 5-year-old was allegedly burned on her ankle and on the top of her hand, while the 9-year-old had burns to two fingers.

“In this allegation, in fact, the spoons were allegedly used to burn the children for lack of proper behavior,” said Capt. Doug Shoemaker.

The court documents state Darshan admitted to police his daughters acted up at a volleyball game last year and he wanted to discipline them.

Darshan allegedly told investigators the 9-year-old was punished for placing her fingers in her mouth during the game and the 5-year-old girl was burned for being disruptive.

The documents state Darshan told police he even had to reheat the spoon between burning each child.

Police told ABC 17 News that they haven’t seen abuse like this before.

“It’s very different in terms of child abuse,” said Capt. Shoemaker. “Every child abuse case is extremely unfortunate and sad.”

Bhakti is being held in the Cole County Jail on a $100,000 bond. Darshan bonded out Thursday afternoon with special conditions, including he not be allowed to have contact with his daughters and must turn his passport over to his attorney.

Darshan could face up to 30 years in jail if convicted while Bhakti could receive about 15 years with her charges.

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