A Wisconsin woman accused of keeping children in cages told cops that the sleeping arrangement was more like a "glorified crib."
Amy Headrick and Travis Headrick were each hit with nine felony counts on Monday after investigators found they kept minors in makeshift cages, including a horse trough, at the home in the village of Melvina. The couple had been arrested on Friday.
A babysitter had taken a photo of the conditions, and showed it to her mother, who passed it on to the police.
Five children, four adopted and one biological, were found in the house. A 10-year-old child was found zip tied in a horse trough, which was described by Amy Headrick as a "bathtub, yes that is what it is made for, for horses."
(Travis Lanier Headrick and Amy Michelle Headrick via Monroe County Sheriff's Office/AP)
After an officer said "zip tied shut," she responded, "yes, yes, I am not going to lie to you about that," according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Daily News.
Amy Headrick described the trough as a “washable membrane," explaning that the child "would defecate himself," according to the complaint.
"I didn’t want to put him in a bathtub and make him sleep in the bathroom, so I thought this was something I could wash and take out for him," she told investigators. She added that the child had once “almost fell out of the two story window."
An 11-year-old was found locked in a cage, and a 12-year-old girl was found in a locked room. The other children in the home were able to move freely. A person who is disabled was also living in the home.
The 11-year-old child had been known to choke his little brother, according to Amy Headrick.
"At night when I am sleeping at 10, I don’t know what’s going on," she told cops, according to the complaint. "I don’t want them choking each other. So I just make sure they're safe. I’m not tying them up. I’m not beating them, I don’t even spank them."
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When asked what would happen if a fire started, she said she does not consider the confinement a "cage," but more like a "glorified crib."
"Cribs aren't locked," someone with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office told her.
"True," Amy responded.
“Dog kennels are locked," the investigator said.
"You’re right," Amy responded. "There was a lock on it. I don’t like to classify that my kids are dogs. I was doing it for their safety. If not, we would have had a kid jump through the window with broken legs on the ground."
Charges against the couple include reckless endangerment, child neglect and false imprisonment.