Couple charged after children 'locked in boxes secured with plywood and screws'

Crime scene tape in front of a wooded area

Crime scene tape in front of a wooded area

Police say a Missouri couple locked four children inside makeshift boxes made out of plywood and screws inside a home.

"Once investigators gained entry into the home, they discovered a 38-year-old female removing screws from plywood covering the entrance to small rooms and children coming out from behind the plywood", the sheriff said in a news release.

Investigators with the Missouri Children's Division and police showed up to the home, according to the sheriff's office. Two of the four are related.

Both adult occupants of the home were taken into custody and charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child and three counts of kidnapping.

Both Head and Cheatham face four counts each of endangerment of a child and second-degree kidnapping.

"You do see it a lot in children from foster care and adopted children because of that early life experience, you know, neglect, multiple caregivers", she said.

The charges could put the suspects behind bars for decades, prosecuting attorney Jerrod Mahurin said.

Brad Pitt Reportedly Paying Millions In Child Support
We hope they can come with a conclusion that is best for their kids soon! See more on the pair's divorce in the video below. Now, a source tells ET that Jolie "just wants the marriage to be over".

The rooms in which the children, ages of 5-12 years old, were being held were described as "specially constructed" rooms with no windows or lighting.

The adoptive mother at the center of a child abuse case in Farmington wanted her four children to wear prison uniforms, the St. Francois County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. "This is the kind of thing that happens somewhere else, not here".

"These were boxes actually built within the house in the room with no restroom facilities, no water, they did have an air pipe in there so there was some air conditioning and plywood was screwed over them where no one could get out or anybody could get in", Sheriff Dan Bullock, St. Francois County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies said the kids are Cheatem's adopted children.

With the constricted spaces lacking plumbing, police believe the children were using vents in the floor to relieve themselves through.

Neighbors said they witnessed the children performing manual labor "frequently", according to KMOV.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.