FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The mother accused of abusing a runaway 16-year-old boy has bonded out of jail following her arrest by deputies with the Williamson County Sheriff Office.
Susan Smithburg's bond was set at $100,000 after her arrest Wednesday afternoon on aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect or endangerment charges. She was released from the Williamson County jail on Thursday morning.
Christopher Smithburg was found safe Tuesday about two miles from his Nolensville home by Rutherford County Sheriff deputies. He had set up a campsite, and had food and other survival items on hand. He had been missing since last Thursday when his parents said he vanished while doing chores.
Officials said last Wednesday night Christopher burned a piece of toast at his parents' home in Nolensville. His mother was accused of becoming enraged and demanded the teen do 1,500 push-ups.
The punishment reportedly went on for about four hours and the teen was unable to complete all 1,500 push-ups. Susan Smithburg was also accused of hitting the teen on the head.
Sheriff Long said the next day Smithburg demanded the teen finish the rest of his punishment, and withheld food from him. That was apparently when Christopher decided to leave home.
"This changes part of the investigation to a criminal investigation, versus trying to recover the young man, who we now have back safely and in protection," said Sheriff Long.
He said the accusations regarding Susan Smithburg may shed some light on why the teen ran away.
"I would assume it does. I think that would have some of the implications off of the affidavit," said Long.
An arrest warrant was issued for Susan Smithburg Wednesday afternoon and she was taken into custody as she arrived for her son's juvenile hearing.
On Thursday NewsChannel 5 spoke to a close family friend of the Smithburg's who said Christopher had a troubled past after being adopted by his parents over a decade ago.
"They didn't adopt him as a baby so I'm sure he has a lot of baggage from the life he lead before he was with them," said Kris Nixon by phone from Colorado.
"It hasn't always been easy and I don't think this is the first time they've had trouble with him," she added.
Nixon also said she was completely surprised to hear her friend of more than 20 years, Susan Smithburg was charged with abusing her son.
"I was just sick to my stomach I know there's no way Susan has ever done anything out of malice or being a bad person," she added.
Officials said an elderly man spotted the teen in an area off Cooks Lane. Deputies were able to track him down just hours later a few hundred yards from where he was spotted.
"We've had so many different search teams and I want to thank the community. The community has been very thoughtful about what we're trying to do," said Williamson County sheriff Jeff Long.
Christopher was taken to Stonecrest Medical Center in Smyrna Tuesday evening for an evaluation. He appeared before a juvenile court judge Wednesday afternoon for a runaway citation. It was shortly after his appearance that officials announced the charges against Susan Smithburg.