Couple who allegedly locked children in stacked cages and horse trough say they were trying to 'protect them'
46-year-old Travis Lanier Headrick and 39-year-old Amy Michelle Headrick face nine felony charges and have been ordered to not make any contact with the children
A couple from Wisconsin has been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, child neglect, and false imprisonment after police officers found their children locked inside cages. 46-year-old Travis Lanier Headrick and 39-year-old Amy Michelle Headrick were charged by the authorities in Monroe County on nine felony counts and have been ordered to not make any contact with the children.
According to the criminal complaint, officers searched the couple's home on August 27 in Melvina, a village in Monroe County, Wisconsin after they received a complaint that children were kept locked in cages and a horse trough on the property. The authorities were also given a photo of a small boy in the horse trough which had metal fencing covering it and was secured with zip ties.
The officers said that they had been informed that there were five children in the home out of which four were adopted and one was the biological child of the couple, ABC News reported. Three detectives from the local law enforcement agency went and searched the home and one of them described what he saw. Detective John Brose said in the complaint: "I noticed a child in a horse trough with metal fencing over the top of the trough secured with zip ties. There was also a child in a locked cage on what appeared to be a double stacked cage."
Wisconsin couple arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, child neglect and false imprisonment after authorities say they kept their children in cages. https://t.co/Q1N1zCXimV pic.twitter.com/nJpA5WwHUE— ABC News (@ABC) August 29, 2018
The complaint said that the children had soiled themselves in the cages and that almost all the doors in the home had alarm systems attached to them. The children were also allegedly not allowed to step out of the house aside from going to church on Sundays. One of the deputies said that he had to cut the zip ties on the horse trough to free one child. The complaint also said that when the authorities questioned Amy about the deplorable conditions of the children, she said that she was a good mother and that she was trying to protect the children.
She told the authorities that she put the child in the horse trough because he had smeared feces on the walls and furniture before and that it had been attracting a lot of maggots. She alleged that she is "creating a membrane that is washable". According to the complaint, Amy said, "I didn’t want to put him in a bathtub and make him sleep in the bathroom so I thought this was something I could wash and take out for him."
The complaint also said that a babysitter who had been working with the family since March this year, from Monday to Friday, had spoken to the detectives about the conditions inside the house. Brose mentioned in the complaint that, according to the babysitter, she had been given strict instructions to unlock the cages and take the children out in the morning and then put them back in at a later time. The detective also said that the babysitter had been afraid that the couple's daughter would report her to Amy if she did not do what she had been instructed to. The former babysitter had quit because "she was fed up with it".
The couple has been arrested and a bond of $20,000 was set on August 27. A trial has been scheduled to start on September 6 and, if they are convicted, they could face up to 10 years behind bars and $25,000 in fines for each of the seven counts of reckless endangerment. They will also be given up to six years in jail and fined $10,000 for each of the two false imprisonment charges.