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Families respond to viral video of abuse

Damon Becnel is charged with child abuse without great bodily harm and animal cruelty....
Damon Becnel is charged with child abuse without great bodily harm and animal cruelty. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 6:29 PM CST
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For many mothers, their worst fear is seeing their child hurt.

"What he did, what Damon did that night to my daughter will forever, will take years, years of unwinding," said Allison Tringas, the mother of an abuse victim.

Tringas does not have custody of her daughter, but she was outraged when she saw the video of her child being abused.

"When I saw the video for the first time I puked," recalled Tringas.

Tringas tells us her daughter's abuse went on for years.

"My daughter eventually reached the point that she finally installed a video in her bedroom because nobody believed her."

According to Okaloosa County Sheriff's investigators, that video captured the girl being abused, and her dog being threatened with a knife. They say the man in the video is Damon Becnel, who was arrested and charged with child abuse and animal cruelty.

"The whole world will now have a glimpse of what my daughter has lived through," said Tringas.

We reached out to officials at the Florida Department of Children and Families. They confirm three investigations have been conducted regarding Becnel. One in 2018, one in 2019, and one that's currently open.

"It's beyond frustrating, it's beyond frustrating. And you start going who do I turn to? Who can help her? Does his family have that much influence over the judges? Over the sheriff's department? Over DCF? Why isn't anything being investigated," said Tringas.

We reached out to Becnel's family. His father, Tom Becnel, sent us a statement through his public relations agency which reads, "My granddaughter is in a very comfortable, safe home with her two dogs. She is trying to resume a normal life of school and activities. I ask that you give the family the time and privacy that we need to help my granddaughter return to the normal life of a 14-year-old child. The incident that took place before Christmas is not indicative of my family's values or behavior. I hope my son gets the treatment he needs and you will give us the privacy we need at this time to heal."

As for Tringas, she said she wants justice for her daughter.

"I will tell you what, she is one strong, she's my biggest hero," said Tringas.

According to the Chief Assistant State Attorney, Becnel was released on a $4,000 bond.

Court records tell us Becnel has a plea hearing set for February.

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