Hideous: Father, Stepmother and Step-Aunt Charged for Locking Up 9-year-old North Carolina Boy in Dog Kennel

The father, stepmother and a step-aunt have been arrested and charged with felony child abuse for keeping a 9-year-old boy locked in a dog kennel since April. The police had found the boy locked in a dog kennel outside his home in North Carolina.

The child told the law enforcement officials that he had been staying in the dog house since April because he did not a room at the house that his father and stepmother shared. Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons described this as the "most hideous thing" he has seen in 36 years in treating a child.

"I've been in law enforcement 36 years, this is right there at the top."

The Boy in the Kennel

The Sheriff's Office had received a call on Wednesday at 7 a.m. from an anonymous source saying that the child was locked in the kennel overnight behind at home at 160 Cress Road in Lexington. Simmons said the boy was shivering and was unable to speak until he could be warmed up. The police forced their way inside the home and found an adult woman Sarah Starr (stepmother), and two other children who had no obvious injuries.

The 9-year-old boy was taken to the children's hospital and released later in the day.

A neighbour told the police he saw the boy in the cage around 10.30 p.m, and brought the child a coat and snacks for the night. Temperatures had dropped during the night below freezing, and frost was still on the ground when officers found the boy.

Boy in the dog kennel
For representation purpose. Pexels

More Children

When confronted by the police, Starr said only her aunt Shelly Barnes knew the combination to the lock on the cage the boy had been living inside. According to the arrest warrant, she was holding an 8-month-old baby and a 4-year-old child was hiding under the bed. Emergency medical workers took both children. Starr revealed that she had two other children, a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old who were at school when the police searched the property. She said she and her husband (the boy's father) knew the boy was living in the cage and were upset about it.

Jonathan Starr, the boy's father, and Sarah Starr have been charged for felony child abuse, misdemeanour child abuse and false imprisonment. Shelly Barnes, the step-aunt, has been charged with the same, including possession of a firearm and maintaining a dwelling place for controlled substances charge. Investigations are continuing.