An OFallon, Mo. couple has been charged with endangering the welfare of their child after police discovered they had been keeping their six-year-old autistic son in a cage in their basement, it was announced on March 15, 2013.
Police say Victoria and Terry Smith were charged with a fenony, endangering the welfare of a child, dating back to 2010. A tip to the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline in 2010, said the boy was put in the cage when a care provider was not present.
Police discovered the boy, naked in the 3 foot by 6 foot crib with a plywood top held together with zip ties, laying in his own urine and feces. Police also say the boy’s siblings would feed him chicken nuggets and hot dogs through the bars.
The child was taken into protective custody but eventually was released back to the parents. The parents told police they had made the crib into a cage because it was the only way to prevent their son from hurting himself when he was left alone. Bail was set at $2,500 for each parent.