A 9-year-old Lexington, North Carolina boy was found in a padlocked dog kennel in freezing temperatures outside of his home last Wednesday.
Here’s What Happened
Police in Davidson County, North Carlina said someone called and told them a young child was locked in a dog kennel overnight at a home in Lexington, 60 miles northeast of Charlotte.
According to reports, an anonymous person called 911 just before 7 a.m. on October 19 and told them about the boy. She said her husband had taken him food “in the past.”
According to the warrant, the child said he had been living outside since April. He also told a lieutenant that he did not have a room in the house “because he lived outside.”
Deputies forced entry into the dog kennel and found the boy in a t-shirt, jeans, and no shoes while frost was on the ground just outside of the kennel. The 9-year-old child was taken to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem for evaluation and was later released on the same day.
While saving the boy, the deputies saw a woman at the back door of the home holding a small child. She walked out of sight and turned the lights off, according to warrants. Due to the circumstances, deputies said they forced themselves into the home and found Sarah Starr and two other children inside.
Starr told deputies she knew the boy was being held in the dog kennel, according to the warrant, and allegedly told a detective that she and her husband were “upset about it.”
Social services officials took the child into custody, along with an infant, a 4-year-old, and two elementary-age children who all lived in the home.
During the arrest and active investigation, a neighbor came to the house on a four-wheeler and told deputies the child had been in the kennel around 10:30 p.m. the night before. The man said he had brought the child a coat and snacks, according to warrants.
Shelley Barnes, the victim’s aunt who lives in the house, was also arrested and taken to Davidson County Jail.
A married couple, the boy’s biological father Jonathan Starr, and his stepmother, Sarah Starr who live in the home were arrested and charged with felony child abuse, misdemeanor child abuse, and false imprisonment, police said.
The boy’s aunt, Shelley Barnes, who was convicted of identity theft in 2004, was also arrested and charged with felony child abuse, misdemeanor child abuse, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm by felon, and maintaining a dwelling place for controlled substances, officials said.
Bond for the couple was set at $100,000 each, and bond for the aunt was set at $300,000, officials said.
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