Police: Woman beat, strangled daughter over Bible passages

Rhonda K. Shoffner (Dauphin County Prison)

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Police say a Dauphin County woman beat, kicked and strangled her daughter then threw her out of her home during last week’s winter storm because the girl couldn’t correctly recite Bible verses.

Rhonda K. Shoffner, 41, of Middletown, is charged with counts of aggravated assault, strangulation, terroristic threats, and endangering the welfare of a child. She’s in Dauphin County Prison on $100,000 cash bail.

The girl told police her mother had been drunk for three days and became angry when other family members did not answer calls. Shoffner ordered her daughter to her knees on a bathroom floor, started citing Bible passages, and expected the girl to repeat her exact words, the criminal complaint states.

When the girl couldn’t repeat the verses correctly, she said her mother grabbed her hair and slammed her head into the wall at least five times. She said her mother then continued the attack by kicking her in the head and stomach, punching and biting her, and slamming her into the wall.

Shoffner then ordered her daughter to lie on her back, threatened to kill her, and strangled her until she couldn’t breathe, the complaint states.

The girl said her mother ultimately allowed her to get up and told her to “just leave and don’t ever come back.” She said she fled the house wearing only a tank top and jeans, but was able to put on a coat and sneakers she grabbed on her way out the door as she ran down the street.

Her father picked her up at a nearby fast food restaurant and drove her directly to the police station. He told officers that Shoffner left a voicemail message on his phone and said, “I hope you find your daughter because I put the b–ch out.”

Court documents show the girl is less than 13 years old.

The incident on the afternoon of March 14 came after a winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on the area and sidewalks were covered with blowing and drifting snow.

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