MAYSVILLE, MO – Two women in DeKalb County, Missouri, are now facing charges after admitting they locked a 9-year-old with autism in a bunk-bed cage for hours.
The child’s mother, 35-year-old Katrina England, and her wife, 39-year-old Debra England, were both charged with child abuse and child endangerment.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday they received information from the Children’s Division about possible abuse and neglect of the child, who has been diagnosed with autism.
The Children’s Division told officials the case also involved unsanitary living conditions and possible drug use in the home.
When police arrived at the couple’s Maysville home, they confirmed those allegations.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies found animal feces, urine stains and cigarette butts on the floors. Cockroaches and other filth was found in the kitchen, and the front porch was so filled with trash that walking was difficult, officials said.
Deputies added that the ceiling in the living room was “non-existent” and rafters were visible.
When they went into the child’s room, they found the bunk-bed had been turned into a cage of sorts with 2-by-4’s running on the bottom bunk to close it in and a plywood door.
There was no mattress, just a sleeping bag, deputies said.
The Englands admitted they locked the cage to keep the child from escaping for more than 12 hours at a time, according to the sheriff’s office.
Officials said Katrina England admitted she had left the home while her child was locked in the cage numerous times over the past several months.
The couple has been taken into police custody, and the 9-year-old has been taken into protective custody with the Department of Social Services.