Local News

Mom's tough love sends daughter to jail

Posted October 30, 2008

— A Harnett County mother said she practiced tough love and let her teenage daughter spend a night in jail to teach her a lesson.

Sandra Martinez, of Anderson Creek, said she had finally had enough when her 17-year-old daughter, Stephanie Bennet, got out of control and attacked her 12-year-old sister, Caitlyn, after what started as an innocent water fight on Oct. 16.

"Caitlyn went to grab her, and she just reared back, elbowed her and then punched her," Martinez said.

Martinez told her older daughter to go outside and calm down, but Stephanie then kept yelling from a neighbor's porch and refused to come home. So, Caitlyn called 911, the mother said.

"She was done, done being hit, done being chased after by her sister, so she had already called the sheriff's department," Martinez said.

Stephanie kept arguing with deputies and her and her husband, so Martinez decided to let deputies charge and arrest her daughter. They handcuffed Stephanie and took her to the Harnett County Jail. She was charged with simple assault and given a $500 bond.

Instead of bailing her daughter out, Martinez let her spend the night in jail. Stephanie had to sleep on the floor because the jail was overcrowded, her mother said.

"I cried the whole night, and tossed and turned and went back and forth, 'Oh my God, she's going to hate me,'" Martinez said. "And as hard as it was to let her sit there that night, I did."

Stephanie has battled anger problems for years and been to numerous doctors and therapists, her mother said. Stephanie has thrown punches at both her parents when they tried to restrain her.

"She screams at the top of her lungs. She shakes. Her face turns red. She just goes into a rage," Martinez said.

Sheriff Larry Rollins said deputies have gone to the Martinez house to investigate a juvenile complaint five times in the past year. Martinez said she had let deputies take Stephanie away in handcuffs, but not charge her, once before.

The Department of Social Services also got involved when the sisters broke a window while shoving each other.

When Stephanie punched her younger sister, however, that was a tipping point, Martinez said.

"You see so many things on the news and in the paper where kids are running the neighborhoods and have no respect for authority and no respect for their parent," she said.

"And that's not what I'm trying to do as a parent. .... I'm trying to raise my children not to be a burden on society, but to contribute to it."

 After a night in jail and facing a court date and criminal record, Stephanie said that she has learned her lesson.

"I was scared," Stephanie said. "I don't want to spend my life like that.

"Every time my sister gets me upset, I'm like, leave me alone," she continued. "I'm going to drop it ... . I'm not trying to get back to where I was before."

Her mother said she hopes her daughter's sentiments are true and that she won't have to take drastic action again.

"I was pleasantly surprised that she said, 'I understand why you did it,'" Martinez said. "You want to be a responsible parent and teach your children right from wrong. I would do it again."


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  • Supie Oct 31, 2008

    the wral writer writes , "Stephanie kept arguing with deputies and her and her husband". Bad english!! try again, 'youngun'.

  • Southern Fried Yankee Oct 31, 2008

    Mom...if only MORE parents would teach their kids that there are consequences for their behavior...

  • keepitreal Oct 31, 2008

    Good job mom in trying to teach her that she has to take responsibility for her actions!!!!! It must have been a very hard decision but I think you made the right one.

  • teacher-mom Oct 31, 2008

    Let's see how she likes it when she has to pay the court costs of the ticket. Let's see how she likes taking a day off from work to sit in the courtroom. I know she will love it when this child is placed on probation for at least 12 months. That is not cheap. I think it is $30 a month. Now, she will have the pleasure of taking her daughter to the probation office monthly. Who knows who her daughter will meet there. If the daughter has a substance abuse problem, she has probably sent her own child to prison. I hope the girl has learned a lesson. I have a feeling we will hear more from this. I wish them luck. I think this young woman has anger issues and would benefit more from anger management therapy.

  • mmania Oct 31, 2008

    Finally a real parent. Making her daughter responsible for her own actions. How refreshing. That's how my mother would have done it.

  • FromClayton Oct 31, 2008

    god bless her for trying. thats more that what a lot of parents do. Yes she should have tried harder years ago, but at least she is doing the best she can now.

  • pebbles262004 Oct 31, 2008

    I hope the girls will start to get alone now, they are missing so much by not being close.Boy, I love my 2 sister's. Now, I would be in jail if someone messed with one of them.

  • Carolinablueview Oct 31, 2008

    When families/parents lack skills in raising their children, the devopment of the children is at risk.

    I hope that the court will intervene and insist that the family undergo intensive counseling and the parents undergo a parenting skills class.

    It is not appropriate, in my opinion, to use the police to solve personal, family problems.

  • infamousrider Oct 31, 2008

    AS a child I was often abused by my brother 5 yrs older. There was not anyone to call back then. Cops would have laughed called it sibling rivalry and left. I WISH my mom would have done something like this...

    and yes.. my mom beat us with a belt.. it didn't help a bit. The man my brother is now.. I wont go into.. but he blames the world for his actions and decisions.

    Good on ya mom..

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 31, 2008

    More parents need to handle problem kids this way instead of coddling them and saying my little darling couldn't have done that.