LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bullitt County authorities have charged two people with first degree criminal abuse after they allegedly force fed hot sauce and vinegar to a 4-year-old girl on several occasions. Mt. Washington Police are investigating the case.


According to arrest warrants, the incidents took place between June 18, 2013 and May 1, 2014. Authorities say 23-year-old Brittany Herbst, the child's mother, and her boyfriend, 29-year-old James Ford, together force-fed the hot sauce and vinegar to the child, "as discipline." According to the documents, Ford would actually do the feeding, and Herbst would help.


The alleged crimes were discovered May 1, when the child had to be taken to Kosair Children's Hospital for a head abrasion. While there, authorities say both Herbst and Ford were interviewed, and Ford admitted to force feeding the child, with the assistance of Herbst.


For her part, Herbst admitted to putting soap in the child's mouth for saying a "bad word," according to court documents.


Bettina Priddy, Herbst's neighbor said, "I know the one baby was dropped on its head and that's what started the whole thing rolling was that they went to the hospital and they thought it was child abuse."


In an orange jumpsuit, Brittany Herbst pleads not guilty in Bullitt County to criminal abuse.


Neighbors say since May, the children haven't lived at her apartment. But looking back, Priddy does remember one conversation with her.

Priddy said, "I know when the babies were little, they would sit there and cry and she said they need to learn I'm not going to go and pick them up every time they cry. So I thought that was odd then and for this to come down doesn't seem that surprising."


In court, attorneys talked about how Herbst only has supervised visits with her children and that can continue under the family court order.

But she can't have any contact with Ford.


Priddy said, "The girls I think are with separate grandparents, staying with them now."


Neighbors say had they known about the alleged abuse, they would've reported it to police.


Priddy said, "I know the kids were way too little to be punishing them."


Ford was arrested by Louisville Metro Police at the 7th Street Kroger on July 19, and taken to Louisville Metro Corrections. Metro Corrections says Ford posted a 50-thousand dollar cash bond. He's expected to be arraigned next week.


Herbst was arrested on Wednesday by the Bullitt County Sheriff's Office, and taken to the Bullitt County Detention Center. Both Ford and Herbst have been charged with first degree criminal abuse. Herbst was arraigned in Bullitt District Court on Thursday morning.


Herbst's bond was set at 25-thousand dollars cash or 50-thousand dollars property.


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