A West Virginia woman was arrested on Monday after her two young children were found caged in kennel-like enclosures inside her home. Authorities found both children naked and sitting around with their own waste smeared on the walls.
WSAZ reports that Kristal Richard, 33, of Shrewsbury, is accused of pinning up her 2-year-old toddler and 5-year-old autistic son in small kennel-like enclosures that lacked bedding and access to a bathroom. According to First Class Trooper N.M. Manolakos of the West Virginia State Police, the two children had food, but it was scattered about their own feces.
“The way that these children were pinned up, caged up, however you want to say it, it was the worst I’d ever seen, bar none. No bedding, no bed, no mattress, feces scattered all over the wall. Horrible conditions … more like a kennel than a room for a child.”
One child was made to live in an enclosure with one piece of plywood, a tarp and a plate of food. The other boy was in a tiny room with mesh gate for a door.
Authorities were alerted about the children through an anonymous tip on Monday. When police arrived and let the children out their “cages,” the oldest boy, who’s autistic and generally unable to communicate yelled, “Yippie!”
— infowe (@infowe) May 9, 2017
Richard admitted that she locked the children in the enclosures to eat and sleep. She also admitted that she was unfit to raise the boys. The children’s father, Joel Richard, who recently filed for divorce and lives in another home, said he was astonished to hear how his sons were living.
“I never thought in a million years that something like this would ever happen … She’s not the same person that I married six years ago. It’s hard to believe any of this has happened, and I find myself at times saying is this real.”
Authorities indicated that the rest of the home was extremely clean, which told them that the boys likely spent the majority of their time inside the enclosures.
Kristal Richard is charged with two counts of child neglect with risk of injury. Additional charges may follow as the investigation continues. She remains behind bars at the South Central Regional Jail on a $10,000 “cash-only” bond.
[Feature Photo: Kanawa County Sheriff’s Office]