SHREWSBURY, W.Va. — State Police were confident an anonymous tip they received about two children in danger was credible, but when they arrived at the home Monday, troopers found a scene far worse than expected.
“There was a 2-year-old male in a plywood enclosure with a tarped floor,” said Trooper Nick Manolakos. “He had a plastic bed, but no mattress or bedding. There was fecal matter surrounding him and a plate of food on the floor. It looked more like a kennel for an animal than a child’s room.”
The troopers made the discovery at the home of Kristal Lynn Richard, 33. She allowed troopers in when they arrived to do a welfare check on the children.
The 5-year-old boy was discovered in a room with a locked half-door and the top half covered with a baby gate.
“It looked just like a jail cell,” said Manolakos. “I looked over there and observed the 5-year-old juvenile. He was naked, pacing back and forth and talking to himself. There was fecal matter all over the walls.”
The troopers immediately took custody of the children and called for Child Protective Services.
“When we got the 5-year-old out of that enclosure he immediately yelled, ‘Yipee, I’m out of the box,'” said Manolakos. “It was unbearable. We got the kids out, clothed them and tried to play with them. They seemed in good spirits, but I think because they were so young I don’t think they even understood what they were exposed to.”
Richard told troopers the boys liked to be in their rooms. She admitted to keeping them in those enclosures during the day. Manolakos indicated it was hard to say how long the children were kept there, but he surmised it had been for a considerable period of time.
The children were placed in the custody of family members. Richard was taken into custody and charged with two counts of child neglect creating risk of injury.
She was being held in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.