Report: Former Metro officer allegedly choked and used ‘police belt’ to beat stepson; boy’s mother also charged in crime

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Grabbing the child by the neck and lifting him off the ground as he choked him is just one of the things former Metro Police Officer John Woodruff is accused of doing to “willfully and unlawfully” conspired with his wife Destini Woodruff “to commit child abuse,” according to a criminal complaint released Tuesday. Buying girls clothes, and making the child wear them to school or beating his bare bottom with a police belt are other incidents, the report said.

The abuse happened between April 1 and May 15, 2020, and according to the criminal complaint, the child suffered unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering as a result of the abuse and neglect.

John Woodruff and Destini Woodruff, patrol officers in the southeast area command for Metro Police, face the following charges:

  • One count of conspiracy to commit child abuse
  • Three counts of child abuse
  • One count of domestic battery by strangulation

According to the arrest report, the child who was allegedly abused was Destini’s son from a previous relationship. It was the child’s father who called Henderson Police on John Woodruff, also known as BIg Johnnie. An investigation was launched, and CSI were sent to the house to conduct investigations with the other children in the house to see if they could find a pattern of abuse.

According to the report, the child was in trouble for allegedly bullying his sister, so his mother, Destini, called her ex, the child’s father and said that instead of returning him when he was due to go back to his father’s house like the custody agreement said, she was going to keep him for a couple of extra days so that he could really think about what he had done, instead of going straight to his dad’s house and getting away with it. However, there was a big problem: In the text message Destini sent to her ex, she said that her son had been whipped, and she sent pictures of his bruises on his butt. But the incident happened on May 9, and she sent pictures of his bruises that were taken on May 13 and the bruising was still very visible and significant, which is not normal after five days had it been a normal spanking situation, Henderson Police said. 

The detective also said that he believed Destini and John’s actions of refusing to exchange custody of the child when their time was up was their way of trying to hide the child’s bruises.

When CSI photographed the child, bruising was found on his lower back, his right buttock, the back of his leg, and his right neck area.

When John and Destini were questioned they said the child bullied and lied about bullying his sister. The report said the Woodruffs said when Destini tried to discipline him, he continued to show Defiance, so she hit him several times with the belt. She said she lost control a bit and was upset with herself when she saw the marks she left on him, but she John were adamant that John did not strike or choke the child, the report said.

However, during the interview, the investigator said it appeared as if John was defensive and was trying to control Destini’s answers. The report also said Destini looked at him several times as if she were in search of the answer.

Plus, the child told the interviewer from the Southern Nevada Advocacy Center that his mom spanked him on his bare butt with her hand, but John did it with the belt before grabbing him by the neck and lifting him off the ground. The child told investigators he couldn’t breathe and that he soiled himself.

Forensic evidence supported the child’s claims. The report said they also made the child wear a girl’s shirt to school as part of his punishment.

Detectives reviewed other suspicions of abuse records on John Woodruff and discovered that in January 2018, he was suspected of and questioned for alleged child abuse of a 3-year-old non-verbal autistic child.

To read more on that incident, read the following report.

The incident involving the 3-year-old is on page 4.

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