SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Court documents shed a clearer light on allegations of child abuse leveled against a Tyler police officer and his wife.
Mark Randy Layne, 48, a longtime officer with the Tyler Police Department, and his wife Cheryl Daniel Layne, 42, were arrested September 17 and charged with injury to a child, a third-degree felony in Texas. Each was assessed a $75,000 bond. Both posted and were released that same day.
According to court documents, two of the couple’s children, twin boys under the age of 14, confided to a school resource officer on Friday, September 13, that they had been abused.
The resource officer then contacted the Smith County Sheriff’s Office to report the allegations.
The children were interviewed by a detective with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office who is assigned to the Crimes Against Children Division at the Children’s Advocacy Center later that night.
According to arrest documents, the boys detailed incidents of abuse on two separate days. The worst of their allegations were made against Cheryl Layne.
The boys told investigators that on September 8 they were in their bedroom cleaning while Mark Layne was putting together their new bunkbeds. According to the arrest affidavit, Cheryl Lane grew angry and grabbed one of the boys by his hair, slamming his head against the wall twice. She then grabbed an archery arrow and hit the other boy on his back with it. The first boy said Cheryl Lane then grabbed him by his hair and neck and threw him against the counter, wall, and on the floor.
The first boy said Cheryl Lane hit both him and his brother with the arrow “for not moving fast enough,” according to documents.
He also told investigators that Cheryl said, “I should use the arrow more, it will get them more in gear.”
The two boys told investigators that Mark Layne told Cheryl Lane to stop and leave, the affidavit said.
The second occurrence was on Thursday, September 12.
According to the documents, the two boys stayed home while their parents went out to eat with one of their daughters. The boys made sloppy joes but did not eat them all.
According to the affidavit, when the Laynes returned home, Mark Layne found the remains of the sloppy joes in the trash “and became upset.”
One of the boys said Mark Layne “shoved his face down in the trash can,” according to the documents. The boy said his father “then took the food that he threw in the trash and shoved it all around his face.”
Mark Layne then began hitting the boy in the face near his mouth and nose with an open palm, according to the documents, causing the boy’s nose to bleed.
The documents said the boy “had food on one side of his face and blood on the other side.”
The boy said Mark Layne called for Cheryl Lane, who told the boy to go get a belt. The boy told investigators that Mark Layne said the boy “had already got his beating,” but that Cheryl Lane said “now it’s time for my beating,” according to documents.
She told the boy to bend over and touch his toes and began hitting him with the belt, the affidavit said.
The boy told investigators he was hit on his buttocks, back and hand with the belt. He said his mother then took a plate of food and grease from the trash and made him eat it.
One boy said he saw Mark Layne grab the other boy’s head and slam it against the edge of the trashcan, according to the affidavit.
Investigators conducted a search of the Layne home and found a brown belt, a set of aluminum arrows and evidence of blood, according to the affidavit.
Photos taken of the boys showed loopd red marks on one boy’s back, near his upper left shoulder and near his neck. Bruising was observed on his left arm, under his right eye and on his left bicep. Redness showed on his buttock consistent with his account of being hit with the belt, according to documents.
Child Protective Services participated in the investigation and removed all children from the Layne home.
Mark Layne has been placed on administrative leave by the Tyler Police Department.