Missouri couple charged with locking children into small, windowless boxes

38-year-old Daryl Justen Head and 38-year-old Laura Elizabeth Cheatham have each been charged with 5 Counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child Creating Substantial Risk 1st Degree and 3 Counts of Kidnapping 2nd Degree

A couple in Missouri allegedly trapped four children in boxes secured with plywood and screws inside a home, in what a sheriff described Tuesday as "deplorable" conditions.

Police told KMOV-TV they received a hotline call about children being kept inside rooms that were shut with plywood and screws.

Now investigators have revealed that Cheatham, who is a former Missouri Department of Corrections worker, even had prison uniforms made for the kids.

Officials believe that the children had to use vents in the floor for bathrooms.

Three girls and one boy, all between ages 5-12, were being held in "specially constructed" spaces that had no windows or lighting, police say.

Daryl Justen Head, 38, and Laura Elizabeth Cheatham, 38, have each been charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the 1st degree and four counts of kidnapping in the second degree. Officials think they were living at the home for several weeks, KMOV reported.

"I've seen some pretty nasty things, but nothing this deplorable", the sheriff added. "This is the kind of thing that happens somewhere else, and not here".

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Bullock said the children appeared to be in "fairly good" shape and were taken into state custody.

Both Head and Cheatham were arrested.

News 4 learned that Cheatham was an employee at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre.

Police say two of the children are related to each-other, but none of them are related to Cheatham, her ex-husband, or Head.

A couple has been charged with eight counts of child endangerment and kidnapping for allegedly trapped four children in plywood boxes inside a Missouri home.

"You do see it a lot in children from foster care and adopted children because of that early life experience, you know, neglect, multiple caregivers", she said. Their bonds are set at $500,000 on each count, and further charges may ensue as the investigation unfolds.

The charges could put the suspects behind bars for decades, prosecuting attorney Jerrod Mahurin said.

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