Hayes, VA – Brian and Shannon Gore pled guilty in court on Tuesday in response to their May 2011 arrest on felony child abuse charges. Both Shannon, 26, and Brian, 31, admitted guilt to abuse and entered an Alford plea on charges of aggravated malicious wounding.
An Alford plea means the couple did not openly admit or directly accept culpability, but acknowledged there was enough evidence for a conviction.
The case was predicated on authorities discovering the couple’s 6-year-old (now 8) daughter confined in a makeshift cage inside the family home. The cell was comprised of an upside-down crib held together with boards and boxes.
Gloucester County Police had initially come to the residence on an unrelated criminal inquiry.
It was assessed the girl had spent her life up to that point encaged, though her parents’ claimed it had only been for two years. She was unable to fully extend her legs. The child was emaciated, weighing less than 16 pounds. The average healthy 6-year-old girl should weigh closer to 45 pounds.
The unidentified girl was so starved that she ate pieces of her own flaking skin, and was found naked and covered in feces.
A healthy, unharmed 1-month-old boy was also in the home.
The decomposed remains of a third child born in 2007, who had died at infancy, was found on the property. Mr. Gore disclosed not calling 911 in the child’s death for fear of officials finding the girl in the cage. He explained the dead boy had passed due to breathing issues.
The medical examiner was unable to discern the cause of death due to the advanced degree of decomposition. Therefore the couple will likely not face murder charges related to the dead infant buried under a shed behind their trailer home.
The Gore’s daughter had been born in the home, and did not have any official documentation such as a birth certificate or medical records. The child was never seen by a physician.
According to Mr. Gore, the girl had Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. No medical records were found to support his claim. Neighbors and acquaintances were questioned. All admitted to knowing of the living newborn, but had no knowledge of either the caged daughter or the dead baby. Many eluded to being told the current son had been the Gore’s first and only child.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 10.
This is not the first case of a couple trapping their child in a cage. Back in November The Inquisitr reported on the arrest of a drunken Oklahoma man who kept his 18-month-old toddler in a pet cage.
In January an 8-year-old girl was found locked in a cage at a home in New Mexico. The child’s mother and the mother’s live-in boyfriend were arrested and charged with child abuse.