Metro Police couple accused of child abuse had run-ins with CPS

Thu, May 21, 2020 (10:15 p.m.)

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Destini Denee Woodruff

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John Wesley Woodruff

Gearing up to physically punish her young boy, the policewoman ordered him to drop his pants for a spanking. 

When her open-handed slaps weren’t “causing him enough pain,” the woman summoned her husband, the boy’s stepfather, whom the boy knows as “Big Johnny.”

Officer John Wesley Woodruff then grabbed a “police belt" and smacked him hard enough to leave bruises visible days later, according to arrest documents. 

After the belt attack, he grabbed the child by the neck and lifted him off the floor, constricting his breathing and causing him to soil his pants. 

These allegations were outlined in the arrest reports made public Thursday of Metro Police Officers John Woodruff, 29, and Destini Woodruff, 26, who authorities said failed to protect her son. 

The Woodruff household — which comprises a son from each officer from different relationships and a biological daughter of their own — had a history of child abuse, including two previous investigations by Clark County Child Protective Services, and at least one Henderson Police report. 

Prior to the incident that led to their arrests, discipline at the Woodruff home became increasingly violent. 

Destini Woodruff once forced one of the boys to wear girl's clothing to school as punishment, police said. Asked how she obtained the girl’s clothing without having a daughter around his age, the woman said she bought it specifically for the punishment, police said.

John Woodruff’s son, who is nonverbal, was used to sleeping with his parents when they were together. But at the new home, he had to sleep on his own.

And when the boy would try to snuggle with his father, John Woodruff would instead spank him. 

The ages of the boys were redacted in the reports, but Destini Woodruff’s son appears to be under 10. Her daughter was born on or after 2017. 

The beating occurred on May 9 after, Destini Woodruff said, the boy disrespected her by lying about bullying his sister. 

Despite the woman calling her son a liar, the boy’s account to investigators was credible.

Bruising on his lower back, buttocks and leg, as well as the strangulation test administered at University Medical Center six days after the assault, lined up with his statement, police said. 

After the beating, Destini Woodruff canceled the boy’s weekly visit to his father. Their son couldn’t “get it through his head that he cannot lie and bully anyone ever and then just go to your house and get away with it,” she told the boy’s father in a text message.

When the boy was back with his dad four days later, and the man saw the bruising, he called police. 

The Woodruffs, who were out on bail Thursday, turned themselves in to Metro headquarters about noon Tuesday. They were each booked on three counts of child abuse and one count each of conspiracy to commit child abuse and domestic battery by strangulation. Police wrote that the escalating violence could have led to a future death.

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