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Tennessee Couple Accused of Locking Girl with Autism in Wooden Cage to ‘Control the Child Better’

During a Monday welfare check, deputies in Jonesborough, TN discovered a girl with autism was locked in a cage that smelled like “urine and feces,” says a WJHL report.

Authorities were following up on a tip that a child was kept in a cage at a home owned by 69-year-old Mickey Sparks and 43-year-old Patricia Lewis. Upon arrival, they found the 10-year-old girl locked in a wooden cage on a mattress in a bedroom.

Court documents reveal that Sparks and Lewis kept the girl in the cage because “they were able to control the child better by locking her up,” and had done so for the last three or four years.

Sparks told investigators that the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) was aware of the cage and its purpose, but they cannot find reports of DCS approving the cage.

Sparks and Lewis were both arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect. They remain in jail on a $50,000 bond.

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