Police say a Missouri couple locked four children inside makeshift boxes made out of plywood and screws inside a home.
Laura Cheatham, 38, and Daryl J. Head, 38, were arrested by officials with the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department. Officials said they were charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child creating substantial risk as well as three counts of kidnapping, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
When they got inside the home, they found Cheatham removing the plywood from several boxes before children came out from them, Fox2 reported.
Officers accompanied investigators with the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services when they found the three girls and one boy between the ages of 5 and 12 in a Farmington home, the publication reported. The rooms that held the children were “specially constructed” with no access to toilets, water, or lighting, officials said.
“I’ve seen some pretty nasty things, but nothing this deplorable,” said St. Francois Sheriff Daniel Bullock, KMOV-TV reported. “This is the kind of thing that happens somewhere else, not here.”
Officials believe that the children had to use vents in the floor for bathrooms. The children were adopted by Cheatham and her estranged husband, the sheriff’s department said. They appeared to be in relatively good health. Officials think they were living at the home for several weeks, KMOV reported.
Head and Cheatham are each being held on $500,000 bail.