Seven-year-old 'kept in outdoor cage'

Last updated 06:55 06/08/2014

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A US couple are being accused of keeping the woman's seven-year-old in an outdoor cage on and off for three weeks, forcing the child to sleep in the enclosure even during rainstorms.

Deputies who went to the rural property outside Laramie, Wyoming, on a tip last month say they found a wooden and metal cage outside the home. The enclosure contained a cot, a toothbrush, a bucket and other items.

Court documents say the mother referred to it as a playpen and said the child was kept there because of misbehaviour.

The man told deputies he disliked the child but kept the child in the cage to ensure safety, according to an affidavit.

The man and woman, who lived inside, each face one count of child abuse and three counts of felonious restraint, the Laramie Boomerang reported.

Albany County sheriff's deputies went to the property on Fox Creek Road after receiving a tip July 23 that the child was being kept in a cage outside a home there.

They discovered the cage was about 2 metres across, 1.6m tall, and constructed of cattle paneling and wooden snow fence.

Inside the cage, deputies discovered a cot, clothing, books, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a bucket, according to court documents. A metal chain and "dog-leash-style latch" were allegedly used to keep the child locked in the enclosure.

Deputies said the child reported living in the cage on and off for three weeks, taking meals there and sleeping there overnight even when it rained.

The couple were arrested July 24.

A statement filed in court by investigators outlined one past report of child abuse and seven reports from welfare checks dating back to October 2013 received by the Albany County Sheriff's Office in reference to the child.

In the October 2013 report, a representative from the Wyoming Department of Family Services said the child reported having not eaten for a number of days and having to stay outside for several hours and take shelter in a vehicle to stay warm.

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- AP

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