The Cape Coral Police Department arrested a man after they said he beat his children with a bamboo stick.
Cape Police found out about it when the kids' mother took them to a clinic for medical care the next day. She said she didn't know about what their father did until after it was over.
Manuel Mendez-Gonzalez, 45, is charged with two counts of cruelty toward a child for hitting his 11-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son with a bamboo stick he kept near his recliner. The boy said he was hit 15 times, while the girl said she was hit less than that, but didn't have an exact number.
"We can't visualize mistreating your child. We can't," Peggy Hamp, a neighbor, said.
"That's unreal," Lee Hamp said. "That's barbaric."
The Cape Coral Police report said Mendez-Gonzalez's 11-year-old daughter had bruises on her rear and back. Her hand was swollen and painful and she couldn't move her fingers.
She told police her dad beat her with the bamboo stick because she used her laptop when she knew she was grounded.
When detectives spoke with his 5-year-old son, he said he was hit because he got a yellow light on the green light/red light behavior scale at school.
His daughter told police she tried to cover her ears or go outside because she couldn't stand to hear her brother scream.
"That's not even spank-worthy. I couldn't even imagine. If he did that for that, what else have those poor kids had to endure?" said Stephanie Rowe, who was picking her granddaughters up at a nearby bus stop.
When Four in Your Corner's Lisa Greenberg stopped by the man's home, a woman answered the door and said he wasn't there and she had no comment.
"Gosh, somebody needs to beat him with a bamboo stick. See how he likes it," Rowe said.
Mendez-Gonzalez told police he was trying to discipline his kids, and feels bad for causing the injuries.