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Family of boys discovered in Missouri cave says situation is all one big misunderstanding

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman is charged with endangering the welfare of her children for allegedly leaving them unattended in a wooden crate and covered in filth. The boys’ grandfather says this whole ordeal is a huge misunderstanding.

Sheriff’s deputies say they found the two boys, ages four and six, while they were investigating reports of a chop shop at a business inside the cave.

Brittany Mugrauer

Brittany Mugrauer

The boys’ mother, 24-year-old Brittany Mugrauer, has been is behind bars at the Jackson County detention Center since Saturday.

On Monday FOX 4’s Monica Evans spoke with the boys’ grandfather, Wayne Mugrauer, who says it's all a huge misunderstanding. Mugrauer is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, but her father says the boys were not left alone.

Wayne says his daughter, Brittany, is a loving mother who adores her two boys. He told FOX 4 his daughter worked as a secretary at Underground Diesel, an auto body shop in the caves, and brought the kids to work because they loved being there.

“They’re little gearheads. They love it there and they weren't in harm’s way and they were always looked after and there's always someone with them,” said Wayne.

When detectives went to the shop to investigate reports of it being a possible chop shop, they found the boys and a 10 by eight foot wooden crate. Wayne, who asked to not appear on camera, says his daughter left the boys with another employee so she could take her boss to the emergency room.

“The kids were under supervision as they always are,” he said.

Wayne says his daughter lost a child to SIDS in February and he moved her and the boys from Florida to Kansas City to help her get back on her feet emotionally. He says they're currently living in a hotel because he came up here to work as a contractor.

“They've always had a roof over their heads and a place to stay, and it was. There's never been a problem with food, or money, or clothing or shoes,” said Wayne.

As for the boys hanging out in the crate, the owner says she wasn't aware of it until she saw the news and says her son, who is the manager of the company, built the area so the boys would have a safe place to be.

“This girl apparently comes up from Florida, doesn't have a job, doesn't have the money to pay for a sitter, so he says ‘Okay you can work here and I'll give them a place to go where they don't get hurt,’” said Leslie Hall, the owner of Underground Diesel.

Wayne Mugrauer says he just wants the boys back with his family.

“I have no idea where they are, and I'm upset about it, and I know they are, too, and I just want them back,” he said.

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