The police in Centralia, Washington were alerted to a missing boy Wednesday morning after a 12-year-old boy disappeared. It turns out the boy and his family were being held against their will and forced to become "yard work slaves" by their neighbor. The boy was told to start his mother's car while preparing to go to school but he disappeared around 8 a.m. prompting his family to search for him. The boy's mother and his two siblings, a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old, went searching at the neighbor's house and found him in the Wellington Waggener's yard.
The 29-year-old Waggener had told the 12-year-old "come here" and then grabbed the hesitant boy by the coat forcing him into his yard, according to police. That is when Waggener struck the boy in the face and forced him to do yard work like sweeping. Commander Pat Fitzgerald of the Centralia Police Department said in a statement, "Basically, he had the kid start cleaning up his yard for him. When his family came looking for him, they tried explaining to Waggener that the boy needed to go to school but he became belligerent.
"He wasn’t making any sense to anybody," Fitzgerald said. The violent Waggener forced the other family members to do work in his yard as well and told them now "they knew what it was like to be slaves." The work included piling firewood and picking up trash. The family said they felt threatened by Waggener who was "huge and intimidating". When the mother tried to reason with him about her son needing to take a test, Waggener said, "He’s got a test? Well, let’s all do the Pledge of Allegiance."
Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/27591-Washington-Girl-12-Dies-After-Accidentally-Being-Shot-In-The-Head-During-Target-Practice">Washington - Girl, 12, Dies After Accidentally Being Shot In The Head During Target Practice</a>
Fitzgerald also said, "They were trying to appease him long enough to get an opportunity to get away." After forcing them to work for an hour, Waggener went across the street which gave the 13-year-old girl a chance to get away and call police with the others close behind. Waggener was arrested without incident around 8 a.m. Wednesday. He was charged with malicious harassment, unlawful imprisonment, and fourth-degree assault. He is currently in Lewis County jail without bond.
This is far from Waggener's first encounter with the law. He was previously sentenced to nine months in jail after he was convicted of assaulting guards at the jail while he was in custody for sexually assaulting a woman after breaking into her hotel. He was never charged for the burglary or rape because of a civil rights violation against him. Deputies sprayed a 3 oz can of pepper spray on him and did not allow him to wash it off for five hours. Not only were charges dropped, he received a $300,000 settlement from Lewis County.
Tips? Info? Send me a message!