Oak Hill man faces child abuse, battery charges

Man hits two daughters, thought children were talking back, police say


OAK HILL, Fla. – An Oak Hill man is facing charges of child abuse and battery after police say he hit two children during an argument and drove under the influence with the children in the car.

Jeffrey Cleaves, 53, was arrested on Thursday after he hit two children, a 12-year-old and 15-year-old girl, because he thought they were talking back to him, according to a news release from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were told by the 12-year-old that Cleaves became angry after she tried to explain she was having trouble in school. He slapped her on the back of the head, thinking she was talking back to him. The 15-year-old walked into the room and saw what was happening when Cleaves pulled her hair, smacked her and fell to the floor fighting still. The 12-year-old then called for help.

The teen then told deputies Cleaves stopped at a bar with her and a 4-year-old earlier, having at least three alcoholic drinks and on the way home, he was speeding and swerving.

Cleaves in now at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach. It was reported also that after Cleaves was arrested, he told deputies that he could discipline his children however he wanted, as long as he does not leave bruises.