After a police officer Thursday said Tiffany H. McCann's 9-year-old son looked like he was chained to a crucifix two weeks ago, a judge ordered her to remain jailed pending grand jury action against her and her estranged boyfriend, Quanaparker Howard.
After a felony hearing, City Judge E. Jeannette Ogden ruled that prosecutors have "reasonable cause" to seek a possible felony indictment against Ms. McCann, 25, the mother of two sons, and Howard for their alleged mistreatment of her son, Keith.
Howard, 21, who has been free on bail since Tuesday and also faces a possible indictment on child endangerment and unlawful imprisonment charges in the case, waived a felony hearing and will let his case go directly to the grand jury, according to his lawyer Lisa L. Mitchell.
Neither Ms. Mitchell nor E. Carey Cantwell, attorney for Ms. McCann, would say if their clients will testify before the grand jury.
Molly Jo Musarra, deputy chief of the Erie County District Attorney's Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence Bureau and chief prosecutor in the case, refused to say when the grand jury probe will start.
Ms. McCann, an employee of a Buffalo discount department store, has been jailed since a neighbor called a state child abuse hot line on Aug. 11. Police arrived at Ms. McCann's home on Hempstead Avenue in the Langfield Projects at about 9 p.m. that night and found Keith bound and gagged in his upstairs bedroom.
Tiara Overton, 14, of the Langfield Project, testified Thursday that she had begun baby-sitting for Ms. McCann's sons at about 6 p.m. that day after Ms. McCann went to work. Tiara said Ms. McCann told her that Keith was "tied up" in his bedroom.
Buffalo Police Officer Anthony Marshall testified that he and other officers found Keith bound by electric cord to his bed, with a pillow over his head and a sock stuffed in his mouth, allegedly being punished for breaking glassware.
Marshall said Keith appeared "almost like being strung up on a crucifix."
Ms. McCann was taken into custody when she arrived home, and Keith and his half-brother, Mickel, 5, are in county foster homes pending a Sept. 1 Family Court child abuse hearing.
Family Court officials said Ms. McCann gave birth to Keith in May 1989 while she herself was in a court-ordered foster home because her mother, Helen McCann, was ruled a neglectful parent.