DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A child found in a padlocked dog kennel told deputies he had been living in the kennel since April and that he didn’t have a room in the Davidson County house where his father and stepmother were living.
On Oct. 19, Davidson County deputies responded to a home in Lexington about reports of a 9-year-old boy locked in a dog kennel. They responded to the home on Cress Road and found the child. He was taken to the hospital and his father, stepmother and stepmother’s aunt, who owns the property, were arrested and charged with felony child abuse.
Search warrants show that an anonymous person called 911 just before 7 a.m. on Oct. 19 who told them about the child and said that her husband had taken the child some food “in the past.”
The child was found in a t-shirt, jeans and with no shoes on a night when temperatures reached below freezing. Deputies observed frost on the ground when they arrived. They broke into the padlocked kennel to get to the child for his safety.
The deputies saw a woman at the back door of the home holding a small child. She walked out of sight and turned the lights off, according to warrants. The deputies secured the 9-year-old and then forced entry into the home, where they detained Sarah Starr, the little boy’s stepmother. She told deputies she did not know the combination to the lock on the kennel and that only her aunt, Shelley Barnes, knew it.
Starr was holding an eight-month-old baby and a four-year-old was found underneath Starr’s bed. They were taken out of the home by EMS.
While EMS checked out the child, he said that he had been living outside since April. The warrant goes on to say that Starr told them she knew that the child was being held in the dog kennel but again said that her aunt was the only one with the combination. She allegedly told a detective that she and her husband were “upset about it.”
Starr told them she had two other children, a seven and an eight-year-old, who were at school.
A man arrived at the scene on a four-wheeler and told deputies that the child had been in the kennel around 10:30 p.m. the night before. Warrants say that the man said he had brought the child a coat and snacks.
The child also told a lieutenant that he did not have a room in the house “because he lived outside.”
All five of the children were taken into custody by the Department of Social Services and during a press conference, the sheriff’s office said that the children were in good health.