After Pulaski County detectives found a three-year-old inside of a locked, bug-filled wooden box, nine people were arrested and charged with neglect of a dependent, including the child’s father and step-mother, according to the CBS 12.
When deputies were monitoring an inmates’ call last week at the Westville Correctional Facility, they overheard him discussing a three-year-old being locked inside of a wooden box at her home on North Judson near C.R. 750 and C.R. 800 N in Indiana.
The following day, police officials raided the home and found the girl sleeping inside of the wooden box, which was filled with dead bugs, according to officers at the scene.
Nine adults, who were reportedly sleeping in a van and some in a camper in front of the home, were arrested.
Three adults, which included the child’s father, 25-year-old Christopher Short and her 42-year-old step-mother, Donna Short, were arrested for neglect of a dependent.
The remaining adults were arrested for failure to report a crime after telling police officials they were aware that the child was being kept inside the box.
It was reported that there were five other children inside of the home during the time the girl was found inside of the wooden box.
When emergency medical services arrived at the home, all six children were transported to a local hospital.
Court documents stated that the father of the child claims that he was not aware his daughter was sleeping inside of the wooden box. He did say, however, that she would often climb in and out of the box on her own.
The girl’s stepmother reportedly told police officials that the child would opt to stay in the box all night, claiming that no one forced her or kept the child locked inside the wooden box.
Pulaski County Sheriff Jeff Richwine said: “Never seen anything like this. It’s one of those deals, you go there and think, ‘hopefully this is not true.'”
“Nobody’s going to have a small girl in a box, that’s just not going to happen. And you go there, when they say it, you just don’t believe it, you’re thinking, ‘My god, who would do this?'”
Richwine went on to say that “nobody spoke up about a little girl in a box. Even while we were in there, and started taking people out, nobody spoke up and said hey, there’s a little girl over here in a box.”
He added that he is grateful to have received the tip from the inmate and said, “At least you’ve ended that for this little girl, or hopefully have ended it for this little girl and she won’t be in a box anymore.”
The child’s grandparents and great aunt are extremely grateful as well as they haven’t seen the girl since she was 18 months old.
The great aunt, Kelly Jackson, said: “She was just so sweet. All my kids would hold her and play with her. She was just a cute little thing.”
“These kids need all their family, not just me, not just my fiancé, they need everybody,” said Frank Jackson, who is the child’s grandfather.
“I just don’t understand why they could do this to the kids, knowing there’s a good home for them to go to.”
Jackson has been trying to get custody of his granddaughter, as well as her seven-year-old brother, since her mother’s passing.
Richwine and Jackson both have stated that the “problem is in Child Protective Services’ policy.”
“I’ve heard several DCS people say that their plan is to put families back together. Somewhere you got to say that’s probably not the best environment for these kids whose parents can’t and won’t get their acts together,” said Richwine.
After the girl was found in a bug-filled wooden box, she and the other children were released to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
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