VCSO: Oak Hill father arrested on child abuse & battery charges

Jeffrey Cleaves of Oak Hill arrested ion child abuse charges / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer / Jeffrey Cleaves, 53, is shown here in a booking mug after his arrest on child abuse charges after allegedly driving while drunk with athe youngest og his children, 4, and slapping his older daughters, 12 and 15, when he got home. He was being held without bond.

OAK HILL -- An Oak Hill man was arrested Thursday for child abuse and battery after hitting two of his children during an argument because he believed his teenage girls, 15 and 12, were talking back to him.

The children told responding deputies that before the fight, 53-year-old Jeffrey Cleaves had driven drunk with the teen and a 4-year-old in his vehicle. Volusia County Sheriff's deputies arrested Cleaves for child abuse and battery.

"The 12-year-old told deputies that she was trying to explain to (her father Jeffrey) Cleaves that she was having trouble in school when he got angry with her," Sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught told Headline Surfer® this morning. "He thought she was talking back to him, so he slapped her on the back of the head. The teen then walked into the room to find out what was going on and Cleaves turned on her. He pulled her hair, smacked her and then they both fell to the floor still fighting. That's when the 12-year-old called for help."

Oak Hill rwsident Jeffrey Cleaves charged with beating his own kids while intoxicated / Headline Surfer®"The 12-year-old told deputies that she was trying to explain to (her father, Jeffrey) Cleaves Cleaves that she was having trouble in school when he got angry with her," Sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught told Headline Surfer® this morning. "He thought she was talking back to him, so he slapped her on the back of the head. The teen then walked into the room to find out what was going on and Cleaves turned on her. He pulled her hair, smacked her and then they both fell to the floor still fighting. That's when the 12-year-old called for help."Deputies arrived at the Barberry Drive home at about 6:30 p.m. and could hear from outside Cleaves yelling and cursing inside the house, the sheriff's spokesman said, adding the girls told deputies what had happened in the house.

The teen then said that she and a 4-year-old were with Cleaves in his vehicle earlier when they stopped at a bar. The girl said that Cleaves had at least three alcoholic drinks.

When they left, the girl said that Cleaves was speeding and swerving and just laughed when the girl asked him to slow down.

After Cleaves was arrested, he told deputies that he could discipline the children any way he wanted to as long as he does not leave bruises, Haught said.

Cleaves was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach where he was being held without bond pending first apperance later today.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.