Philadelphia parents were arrested Friday after a 6-year-old boy was found locked in a in a dog cage and a partially clothed 3-year-old and 5-year-old, both girls, were found outdoors in the rain, according to a statement from the Philadelphia Police Department.
“This is just an absolutely tragic situation,” Sergeant Eric Gripp told reporters. “We don’t live in a world where under any situation whatsoever we should have a child inside a cage or young children outside standing in the rain.”
The parents, 30-year-old Michelle Campbell and 31-year-old Paul Weber of the 4200 block of Glenview Street, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering a person.
Officers responded to the home after receiving a report about “screaming.” When they arrived, they found the partially clothed girls, ages 3 and 5, wandering and crying in the yard at the rear of the house.
On entering the home, they discovered a third child, a 6-year-old boy. The boy was locked in a dog cage with a zip tie. He was reportedly nude and had a blanket and pillow. Sources told WPVI the boy has intellectual disabilities.
Police say the mother would often lock the little boy inside the dog cage while she was away from home, according to CBS News.
Five children in total live in the home. Two of the children were at school when police rescued the others, the outlet also reported.
Also in the house, police found two adults. The first was an 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair, believed to be the children’s grandmother. The second was a reportedly intellectually disabled man in his 40s believed to be the children’s uncle.
A woman claiming to be the children’s mother arrived at the house while the police were there, Sergeant Gripp told reporters. That person was taken to Special Victim’s Unit for questioning.
“They have Pampers on. They have no shirts, no pants, they have no shoes. They’re screaming, it’s raining, it’s cold. They’re screaming for their mother and father,” Hector Perez, a neighbor who found the children when he came home from work told the outlet.
“This has been an ongoing drama man. I’ve been here 12–15 years,” Perez also said. “Cops have been coming here on and off. Nothing has ever been done.”
The children were transported to St. Christopher’s Hospital for evaluation and will be under the care of the Department of Human Services, Philadelphia Police said.
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