Jennifer Denen Clarence Reed
Clarence Reed, left, and Jennifer Denen, right, are facing several charges including endangering the welfare of a minorGarland County Sheriff

A four-year-old girl who was zip-tied to a bed by her mother's boyfriend received so much abuse growing up she thought her name was "idiot", police have alleged.

Arkansas couple Jennifer Denen, 30, and Clarence Reed, 47, were arrested on Friday (12 August) after officers said they discovered Denen's daughter covered in bruises and dried blood.

Police had originally been contacted on a tip-off that a malnourished girl was being abused at her home in the city of Hot Springs.

Deputies found the young girl with deep purple bruising, a black eye, a swollen cheek, healing scars on her back, dried blood around her mouth and ligature marks from being restrained, according to a police affidavit.

When one of the officers asked the girl her name, she reportedly replied: "Idiot."

Another child later claimed Denen and Reed called the girl "idiot instead of using her name," police records show.

After the pair were arrested on suspicion of child abuse, Reed allegedly admitted he and Denen used zip-ties to strap the girl to her bed as punishment for climbing on some cupboards in their home.

He reportedly said he called the girl an "idiot" as a joke.

Records also show Denen had told police she had seen her boyfriend strike her daughter with a plastic bat, which Reed later told officers was actually a wooden paddle. Denen allegedly admitted she did not seek medical treatment for her child.

The couple lived with six of Denen's children, one of them fathered by Reed, in a modest home in a residential street in the east of Hot Springs. Neighbours described their shock at the allegations.

"We looked at the charges and we were like wow," one told Ozarks First. She said her daughter used to play with the child but suddenly stopped wanting to visit her home.

"We didn't know why. We stayed to ourselves and they stayed to themselves."

The Hot Springs Police Department said the maltreated girl and an 11-month-old baby had been taken into care. Denen's four older children are now with their biological father.

The couple face charges of domestic battery, permitting child abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor. They remain in Garland County Jail on a $100,000 (£76,900, €88,700) bond each, and are due in court on 27 September.