Autistic Child Found Living In A Cage In Oâ€™Fallon, MO
Oâ€™FALLON, MO (KTVI) â€“ The parents of a child with autism, who prosecutors said was found locked in a cage in an Oâ€™Fallon, Missouri basement, are now facing felony Child Endangerment charges.
Victoria Smith and Terry Smith of Oâ€™Fallon, MO are charged with felony Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree. The St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorneyâ€™s office filed the charges after a two-and-a-half year investigation.
â€śThis situation is something that is just not going to be tolerated,â€ť St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said. â€śYou look at the evidence and it is just not appropriate.â€ť
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According to the prosecutorâ€™s office, on December 15, 2010, Oâ€™Fallon Police and Missouri Social Services officials went to the home on Half Moon Drive after an anonymous tip was called into the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect hotline. When officers arrived, they found a six-year-old child in a cage. The boy was reportedly naked and sitting in urine and feces.
â€śThat is just terrible and so hard to understand,â€ť Neighbor Theresa Brightwell said. â€śEverything seemed normal, but you never know what is going on behind closed doors.â€ť
The child was being kept in a 3-foot wide by 3-foot tall make-shift cage that was held together with zip ties, tension straps and bungee cords.
â€śThat child deserves a good life,â€ť Brightwell said. â€śI would she him out here sometimes, but we just did not know.â€ť
Five other children ranging in age from 11 months to eight years old were also found in the home with an older relative.
According to the prosecutorâ€™s office, the home was cluttered and unsanitary. Authorities also found the door knobs on the childrenâ€™s rooms installed backwards so they could be locked from the outside.
The children told investigators they were seldom allowed to play with the caged child and fed him hot dogs and chicken nuggets through the bars of the cage.
Victoria Smith and Terry Smith are not currently in custody, but prosecutors said they expect the couple to turn themselves in soon.
â€śThey should be in jail for a really long time,â€ť Brightwell said.
They could spend up to seven years in prison.
WTF is wrong with people? 7 years ain't near enough. I hope they get theirs in jail. Scumbags.
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