Two Whatcom County men charged for horsewhipping young boy

The father and step-grandfather of a 10-year-old have been charged with striking a boy up to 50 times with a horse whip as they forced him to run up a hill for more than three hours.

Robert Thomas Toy, 31, and Lawrence “Eddie” Larsen, 36, are charged with second-degree assault in Whatcom County Superior Court. Toy is the 10-year-old’s father. Both were arrested on Saturday, Dec. 13.

The two men allegedly picked the boy up from school on Friday, Dec. 12 and drove him to Paradise Valley Road, a logging road south of Sumas. They then forced the child to get out of the truck and run while Larsen drove behind, court documents say. When the boy became tired after a few miles, Toy got out of the truck and threw him in a stream along the road before hitting him multiple times with a horse whip and telling him to keep running. This cycle went on for more than three hours, and the boy told deputies he was struck with the horse whip 30 to 50 times, court documents say. He was wearing a T-shirt and jeans.

At one point, according to the charging papers, Larsen took the whip from Toy because he was not satisfied with how the whip was being used. Larsen then allegedly swung the whip at the boy as if he was swinging a baseball bat.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said the men were disciplining the boy for not doing his chores. The boy’s mother was under the impression that they were going to talk to him about not doing his homework, according to the charging papers.

Photos obtained by deputies showed “extensive bruising” to the backside of the boy, including his arms and shoulders, court documents say. Welts and cuts that had scabbed over were still present the next day.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said the boy has since been placed in the care of a different relative.

The boy’s mother indicated to investigators that Larsen sometimes hit the boy as a form of punishment prior to the incident on Dec. 12, according to the charging papers.

Toy, from Maple Falls, remained in Whatcom County Jail on Thursday, Dec. 18 in lieu of $100,000 bail. Larsen posted $100,000 bail and was released on Dec. 14.