POLICE have found a toddler locked in a cage and a one-year-old boy and a newborn baby abandoned at a house near Pennsylvania in the United States.
Officers forced their way inside the North Manheim Township home, dubbed the ‘house of horrors’, on Wednesday when the children’s 25-year-old mother presented to hospital without her baby after giving birth at the house.
Inside the home, police say they found a 22-month-old boy inside a cage made of plywood and wooden lattice which was locked from the outside with a barrel bolt.
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Police said there wasn’t enough room in the cage for the small boy to stand up.
The toddler’s one-year-old brother was found in a playpen and his a newborn sister strapped in a baby seat. Police said she was born in the house the night before.
The children’s father, Cecil Kutz, 38, had allegedly left all three of them alone in the house while he went to visit their mother in hospital. It’s not known how long they were left unattended for.
Kutz was arrested on child endangerment charges when he returned to the house, 40 minutes after police made the discovery. He was remanded in custody and remains behind bars.
It’s understood he told police that he used the cage as a makeshift crib to keep the toddler safe at night.
“It wasn’t easy to look at,” state police Sergeant Fred Krute said at a news conference. “You have to feel for these kids.” Krute said the house was dirty, with an unfinished bathroom and exposed wiring.
“We’re happy we got there, we’re happy Children and Youth is now taking custody of these kids, and we’re happy Dad’s locked up,” he said.
The newborn was taken to a hospital for evaluation but was said to be okay while her brothers were placed in the custody of child welfare authorities.