Wisconsin Couple Kept Their Children In Cages To Keep Them ‘Safe’

A couple from Wisconsin was arrested for abusing their five children, failing to feed them, and keeping them in cages that were locked shut.

Child looks through gate.

A couple from Wisconsin has horrified the country by allegedly keeping their children in makeshift cages.

Travis Lanier Headrick, 46, and Amy Michele Headrick, 39, were charged with child neglect, reckless endangerment, and false imprisonment after Monroe County authorities learned they were keeping their children in cages that included a so-called horse trough.

Some of the five children, four adopted and one biological, were reportedly kept in these cages that were “zip-tied shut,” a police complaint said.

Calling her children’s sleeping arrangement a type of “glorified crib,” the mother said that the horse trough was a "bathtub, yes that is what it is made for, for horses." She apparently thought that using it to secure her 10-year-old would keep her child safe after he nearly fell out of a two-story window.

“I didn’t want to put him in a bathtub and make him sleep in the bathroom, so I thought this was something I could wash and take out for him,” she said.

Because he "would defecate himself," she said she used the trough as it was a “washable membrane.”

Claiming that her children would try to hurt each other, she said that the use of cages was meant as a means of protection.

“At night when I am sleeping at 10, I don’t know what’s going on,” she told officials. “I don’t want them choking each other. So I just make sure they're safe. I’m not tying them up. I’m not beating them, I don’t even spank them.”

Police reported that an 11-year-old was locked in a cage, while a 12-year-old was found in a locked room. The other children were allowed to move freely.

They also found a disabled adult living with the family.

Officials said that the cages were made of metal but noted that the wooden cages used prior had become maggot-infested, so the couple bought new ones.

According to a witness, one of the children was held by the neck and head under the faucet while hot or freezing water ran. The witness described the child as disabled, adding that the five children were physically abused.

The house also had no toys or children’s clothes, deputies explained in a search warrant, adding that there was not enough food in the house to feed all children and others living there.

The adopted children all ate a bologna and cheese sandwich three times a day every day.

The couple is scheduled to appear at the Monroe County court on Sept. 6.

The fact these kids’ own mother thought that what she did was for her children’s well-being is beyond disturbing. And to think that this treatment went on for an extensive period of time before the parents were caught is even scarier.

Luckily, the children were rescued before any of them died or became gravely ill. These neglectful and abusive parents deserve to receive the maximum punishment for their crimes against the vulnerable and innocent kids they were supposed to be raising. 

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Flickr user afri.

View Comments

Recommended For You