A Montgomery County man remained jailed Monday on charges that he beat and abused his young children — including shocking them with electric dog collars — on a daily basis for several years.
Joseph Myhre of Lower Providence Township home-schooled his two children, now ages 11 and 13, and allegedly punched, kicked, choked, and struck them, shocked them with electric collars, and stuck needles under their fingernails to make them bleed, according to court records released Monday. The abuse began when the younger child was about 4 or 5, she told police.
Police began investigating the abuse last month after Myhre's wife drove herself to the hospital following a beating. The woman had a fractured skull, and told police that Myhre had also abused their children over the last six years.
"Many times he would hit [my] head with a wooden stick," one child told police, according to an arrest affidavit filed in the case. "Another thing he would do is shock me with a dog collar. He would also bang my head against the wall or floor sometimes. Usually blood. It was so severe one time, I needed stitches."
Myhre, 44, who was arrested Friday, was charged with assault and harassment in the case involving his wife, and posted bail after he was arraigned on those charges. Police arrested him again on Friday on nearly 150 counts of assault, strangulation, unlawful restraint, and other crimes, for the alleged abuse of his children.
District Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar set his bail at $1 million, and he is being held at the Montgomery County prison. Myhre does not yet have a lawyer to represent him in the abuse case, according to court documents.
He told police as part of their investigation that he had grabbed his children and hit them with sticks, according to the affidavit, but said that he did not do it to hurt them and that the children never cried or told him they were in pain.
When police searched the home on Greene's Way Circle, they found closed wooden boxes instead of beds in the children's bedrooms. The boxes had small openings and vents for air, police said.
The children told police their father hit and hurt them "countless" times, often until they were unconscious, seeing stars, or in a "dream state," as the daughter described it to police.
The girl "explained that her father would ask her to do many tasks for him throughout the day, and if she did not do those things to her father's liking, he would punish her," according to the affidavit.
His son described abuse with a dog shock collar.
"Where the two nodes were on the shock collar, it would leave a mark," his son told police. He said his father "tied it very tight" around his leg, "and I would not be able to feel my foot sometimes."
The boy told police that when he needed stitches after his father banged his head into the floor, his parents drove him to an urgent-care center and instructed him to say he fell. Police said the boy has permanent scars from that beating.
Sometimes, the children said, their father told them to take ice baths or put bandages on their bruises, and he told them to lie about how they got them.
Myhre's wife gave police an audio recording of one beating, recorded on a cellphone last month. Police describe it in the arrest affidavit as beginning with a child's screams.
"It hurts so bad dad get off my feet I cannot stand it," a child screams and cries, police said.
A male voice replies: "Good."
Myhre is next due in court April 19 for a preliminary hearing.