Shackled Girl: Part 5 – It Gets Worse

Shackled Girl: Part 5 – It Gets Worse June 7, 2016
Screen capture, Esten and Timothy Ciboro, Toledo Blade photo by Katie Rausch
Screen capture, Esten and Timothy Ciboro, Toledo Blade photo by Katie Rausch

by Propinqua

Editor’s note: Even more disturbing details are emerging in the case of Timothy Ciboro, 53, and his son Esten, 27. The two allegedly disciplined the daughter of Timothy’s ex-girlfriend Stafonda Hawkins by shackling the girl, now 13, to a basement post. She escaped in mid-May. Hawkins, 39, was recently jailed on unrelated warrants.

The Ciboro men have been arraigned in Lucas County Court. The Toledo Blade summarizes the charges:

[T]wo counts of kidnapping and two counts of endangering children each for keeping Timothy’s stepdaughter shackled by her ankle for varying periods of time between Jan. 1, 2012, and May 18, 2016.

Horrifyingly, the dates suggest that the girl might first have been shackled when she was nine years old. Lindsay Navarre, an assistant prosecutor in Lucas County, Ohio, made this comment (on video):

Having done this job for 11 years now, this is one of the most egregious and shocking fact patterns of child abuse our office has ever seen.”

The court granted several prosecution requests:

Judge Linda Jennings increased both men’s bond from $500,000 to $1.15 million and ordered that they be kept apart in the county jail. At Ms. Navarre’s request, she also ordered that they have no contact with the young victim in the case.

Timothy and Esten Ciboro are viewed as flight risks. Stafonda Hawkins, by contrast, is held on $5,000 bond on old charges not linked to her teenage daughter’s case.

News reports say the girl was chained in the dark basement whenever she accrued fifty points on a disciplinary scale of Timothy Ciboro’s devising. Wetting the bed was allegedly an automatic fifty. Ciboro gives a more sunny description of the point system to Kristi Leigh of NBC24 (raw video starting around 16:48):

Ciboro: Encouragement is what it was. […] I mean, the kids loved it. […] they could buy things with the points. It’s like money.

Girl escaped once before

When Hawkins left the girl and her two younger children with Ciboro in 2012, she also ceased contact with her sister Burnett Smith. Smith apparently continued to see her nieces and nephew for a little while, until a pivotal incident she described to WTOL:

According to Smith, Stafonda left town a few years ago after getting into some trouble with the law, leaving her three children with Tim and Esten, and no longer communicating with her[,] Smith.

A short time later, the [now] 13 year-old would run away, with no shoes. Burnett [Smith] says the [now] teen was able to find her when she left.

The passage above is important but somewhat unclear, since it refers to the girl as a teenager even though she was nine years old when her mother left. Smith details the earlier escape attempt:

I said, ‘What did he [Timothy Ciboro] do?’ She said, ‘He punish me when I pee on myself.’ I said, ‘Like what?’ She didn’t tell me like what,” said Smith.

But when [the girl] was returned back to the Ciboros’, Burnett says that’s when Tim cut her connection with her nieces and nephew in a nasty phone call.

Smith recalls what Ciboro said:

“‘I don’t want you calling […] my phone no more. I don’t want you to come over and see them, because if you do I’m going to call and tell the police that you kidnap.’ I said, ‘Who did I kidnap?’” said Smith.

If Smith’s account is accurate, Ciboro might have deliberately isolated the children by warding off their mother’s relatives. Smith could have heard his message as a credible threat. Ciboro has a history of legal action when he believes he is wronged. In 2007, after he was fired by the Toledo fire department, Ciboro filed suits in county and federal courts against the city, the fire department, the firefighters’ union, and an arbitrator.

Burnett Smith and Timothy Ciboro were once apparently on better terms. A decade ago, “He seemed to be a good person,” although a strict parent. She believed Esten was “scared of his dad.”

When did the alleged full year of shackling take place?

Dates of the alleged one-year shackling are unclear. The New York Daily News put it this way:

Ciboro and his son shackled her to the beam for varying amounts of time, one time for nearly a year, investigators said.

This alleged incident seems recent. Some neighbors assumed the victim had gone to live with her mother when she seemed to disappear about a year ago. One made this comment:

When we stopped seeing the little girl, we didn’t think anything of it,” she said.

Family members mainly kept to themselves and were always respectful, she said.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4


Propinqua is the Latin word for neighboring or nearby (singular feminine adjective). It is used in law and philosophy, and in the scientific names of plants and animals, such as the native bee Osmia lignaria propinqua.

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