MAYSVILLE, Mo -- A DeKalb County couple has been charged with child endangerment and abuse.
Police say the couple forced their 9-year-old daughter with autism to live in filth and locked her in a cage. They're allegations that shocked even veteran law enforcement officers.
“A very dirty unsanitary and unsafe environment. I wouldn't let an animal live in there,” said Chief Dep. Kasey Keesaman, a 17-year veteran of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.
A house of horror is how deputies describe the home on N. Water Street.
When deputies responded to the house where Katrina and Debra England live with their 9-year-old daughter Tuesday, they found it in bad shape -- no ceiling, just rafters, and animal feces caking the floor throughout the home.
But what was most alarming was in the child's bedroom. The first level of a bunk bed had been converted to a cage, with a plywood bottom.
The couple bonded out of jail Thursday. Debra England quickly kicked FOX4 off her property when we asked for her and her wife's side of the story.
While England wouldn't talk to us, court records state the women admitted to locking their 9-year-old daughter in the cage to sleep without proper bedding for 12 hours at a time each night.
They also allegedly used the cage as punishment when the child with autism had outbursts and locked her in the cage alone when they left the house.
The alleged abuse happening for several months.
“That was unbelievable! I just don't know how anybody could do that to a child,” said Linda Miller who lives across the street from the England’s.
From what she saw, Miller thought they were a good family.
“In the morning when she would put her daughter on the bus, she would walk her daughter all the way out to the bus and then at night she was always there to meet her,” Miller said.
What sheriff's deputies and the prosecutor say went on inside this house is anything but good.
“I'm a father and I can't imagine, I can't wrap my head around why somebody would do that to their own child,” Keesaman said. “It’s definitely a reminder that evil exists in the world.”
The good news is that the 9-year-old child is now safe in the custody of the Missouri Children's Division, which is looking for placement for the child. It's too early to tell if the little girl will ever be reunited with her moms.