JONESBOROUGH—Two people who locked an autistic girl in a cage at a home in northeastern Tennessee have received probation after pleading guilty to child neglect.
WCYB-TV reports the sentencing for 64-year-old Mickey Sparks and 44-year-old Patricia Laws came last Jan. 10 after a hearing in criminal court. They were originally charged with child abuse, and the girl remains in state custody.
Tennessee couple accused of keeping autistic child in cage given probation https://t.co/IKtZOa4DQp
The couple told officials that keeping her in the cage was the only way they could control her. They also have three other children that remain in their care. pic.twitter.com/4zjF51KbYT
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) January 11, 2019
Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said in a statement at the time that deputies conducting a welfare check found a locked wooden cage with a filthy mattress and a 10-year-old autistic child inside.
Court records obtained by WCYB said the couple told state officials that keeping the child caged was the only way they could control her.
Sparks and Laws also have three other children that remain in their care.