3 arrested after North Carolina cops find 9-yr-old padlocked inside dog kennel in freezing temperature
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA: Three people were arrested following the discovery of a nine-year-old child being padlocked in their dog kennel for an extended period of time. The child is said to have had food and clothes, but the attire was nowhere close to enough to give him any kind of warmth. The child’s father, Jonathan Starr, and stepmother, Sarah Starr, were arrested, along with the child’s aunt, Shelley Barnes. They were charged with several counts of child abuse and false imprisonment. The child’s aunt, Barnes, is said to be a convicted felon who was also charged with possession of undisclosed drugs in the home, and also a firearm.
Investigations began when the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a concerned local on October 19th, Wednesday. The police were informed over the phone call that a child was kept locked in a dog kennel overnight. The temperature was around 28 degrees, not suited at all for the child to be out. The police noted that the child was wearing only a t-shirt, and blue jeans and didn’t have any shoes on. There was visible frost on the ground, as reported by The Sun.
"Deputies with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office immediately responded to the residence and confirmed this report and located a 9-year-old child locked in a dog kennel, which was secured with a padlock," the sheriff's office said, in a report by The Sun. In the kennel, the police also discovered 2 blankets, a coat, a hooded sweatshirt, a pair of kid’s shoes, two short-sleeved shirts, and a pair of pants which were all damp.
In a report by The Dispatch, it is said that the child was "living outside since April" and told the Davidson County EMS that there was no room in the house for the child because of living outdoors. When the officers showed up at the scene, they forced their way into the kennel and saved the child, who was taken to the hospital for an evaluation soon after. “Although arrests have been made in this incident, this is an ongoing and active investigation,” Sheriff Richie Simmons said.
The house also includes two children of elementary school age, an infant and another four-year-old, all of whom have been taken into custody by social services. It is also reported that this wasn’t the first time one of the children was forced to sleep inside the kennel. However, the police have not disclosed much about the abuse itself. “This is, we believe, not to be an isolated state of offense. It’s been going on for a span of time."
Another officer at the press conference said, “I’ve been in law enforcement 36 years. This is the first time I’ve seen something quite this significant, to be honest with you.” The sheriff's office said in a statement, "Jonathan and Sarah Starr's bond was increased from $30,000 secured to $100,000 secured." Barnes' bond was raised from $60,000 to $300,000, according to cops.