WINCHESTER, Ind. - A Union City father is accused of "branding" three children with a medallion heated on a space heater.
Jason Michael Mangas, 28, of Union City faces three felony counts of neglect of a dependent filed Wednesday.
Court documents said Mangas' four children and a family friend were left in his care the weekend of Jan. 19-20, which is when police said the three children were burned.
Mangas lives in a Union City home with friend Jama King and her children.
"I was very shocked," King said. "I couldn't imagine the things that I've been told that happen, and how it went down."
An 8-year-old girl who was branded told a sheriff's deputy she'd told Mangas she wanted a tattoo.
The girl also told authorities that her dad helped one of her siblings and his friend burn a tattoo on their bodies in the same way.
The affidavit says Mangas heated a necklace on a space heater and placed it on the girl's arm, burning an impression of the necklace's medallion.
"At the time, I really don't think he really thought he was hurting him," said Mike Mangas, Jason Mangas' father. "But we had to take them up to the hospital, and they had third degree burns on one of the minor's arms, and I told him that it's a third degree burn. He didn't realize it was that bad."
Investigators say photos of the branding show burns and scabbing.
Mangas is being held at the Randolph County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
The childrens' mother told RTV6 this was a brutal incident and her kids will be scarred for life. Both she and Mike Mangas believe Jason Mangas needs to pay for what he's accused of doing.
"I think he done the crime, he should do the time," Mike Mangas said. "That's how I look at it. It was neglect on his part and child abuse. He knows what he done was wrong. He knows that."
There's also suspicion that Mangas might have branded another one of his children, but he has not been charged in that incident.
Jason Mangas' wife, Sarah Mangas, said the couple is in the process of divorcing. Her concern now is the welfare of her children, and she said the scars are healing and she plans to get counseling for the children.