Diana and Samuel Franklin of Butler, GA (Source: Taylor County Sheriff's Office)
BUTLER, GA (WTVM) -
The story of a 15-year-old girl locked in a chicken coop has many wondering what may have lead the parents to allegedly do something so cruel and inhumane to their child.
Neighbors who live near the Franklins, but did not want to go on camera, told us that Diana Franklin would often punish her daughter for not doing chores and school work.
Neighbors also said this mom would only feed her daughter bread and water as punishment for days on end.
The neighbors asked why, and they say Diana Franklin would tell them she was only doing what the Bible says. According to neighbors, the scripture that Franklin was referring to was from Proverbs 13:24. In the King James Version, it reads: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
We also spoke with Mike Brandenburg, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Butler, where the Franklins used to attend. Bradenburg was never their pastor, but does know about the family and their beliefs.
"I know they attended this church, for a short time years ago, but they didn't seem to want to follow, they wanted to change everybody to be like them," Bradenburg said. "They didn't want to be open enough to say we disagree from what I understand so they eventually left."
Pastor Bradenburg says the Bible is often misinterpreted, with people thinking the scripture from Proverbs means disciplining with a rod versus teaching their child right from wrong.
"A loving parent will discipline their child in the way that is necessary, it doesn't mean that you will abuse that child," Bradenburg said.
Earlier this week we traveled to Roberta, GA where the Franklins lived three years ago. A neighbor told us that one day the Franklins' daughter walked over to her house, knocked on the door and said "Please help me. I haven't eaten in three days."
The woman said she began to cook for the girl but was interrupted when Diana Franklin grabbed the girl and according to the neighbor yelled, "You can't eat if you don't work."
That neighbor pointed to the Bible in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 which says "For even when we were with you, this we command you that if you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
"That was not to be interpreted as something that said that it should be enforced on children at that type of thing," Bradenburg said. "It was talking about grown adults in its context."
We reached out to the Franklins' attorney again Friday and received no word back. The Franklins 15-year-old adopted daughter told investigators that she spent about six days at a time in small buildings in the back of the Franklins' property as punishment for not doing school work.
GBI agents say the outhouse was about four feet in length and width, and just a few feet high just big enough to sit in.
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