Friday, 14 December, 2018

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

4 children found barricaded in rooms Couple charged after children 'locked in boxes secured with plywood and screws'
Pablo Mccormick | 09 August, 2018, 04:54

The children are now under the care of Missouri's Children's Division.

Police said Laura Cheatham, the woman arrested Tuesday in this case, was a former employee of the Missouri Department of Corrections and ordered four child-sized prison inmate uniforms.

"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 this department took custody of the uniforms from officials at Farmington Correctional Center along with cardboard patterns that are marked "kids pants", "kids shirt", etc., and work order documentation.

A man and woman are in custody after the St. Francois County Sheriff's Office said a hotline report revealed four children being held in special rooms secured with plywood and screws. Children then came out of the spaces, police said.

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"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, and not here".

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 children resorted to going to the bathroom in vents in the floor, according to authorities.

When they forced their way inside, Cheatham, who adopted the three girls and one boy with her ex-husband Richard, was trying to remove the plywood that had been screwed on to the top of the boxes to free the children, according to charging documents. And Head was employed as a community support specialist at the BJC Behavioral Health center in Farmington from July of 2016 to June of 2018.

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

Their bond was set at $2million each.

The boxes authorities say are probably no more than five-by-seven in size.

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