Sheriff: Children Imprisoned In Tipton County Home

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(Tipton County, TN) Two people have been arraigned after the Tipton County Sheriff's Office sayid three children were imprisoned in a home and only allowed to leave to attend school.

Custodial adoptive parents Will Earnest Cater, 53, and his wife Wylie Sue Cater, 43, are charged with False Imprisonment and three counts of Aggravated Child Abuse.

Bond was set at $100,000 each.

Deputies were sent to a home at 283 Gladney Road in Covington where they found a 17-year-old girl and her 12-year-old sister locked in their bedroom.

There was a portable toilet placed in the room, and the windows were screwed shut.

The girls were fed in their rooms and confined there until they were allowed to go to school in the mornings.

The 14-year-old brother was housed in an un-insulated storage shed in the backyard which had no running water, just a portable toilet and a small space heater.

According to a release, "There were exposed wiring throughout the shed. The lighting in the living space was a mechanics work lamp on an electrical cord. The boy would be allowed to come inside the residence in the mornings for breakfast before going to school and returned to the shed after school. The investigation revealed that the 14 year-old boy was deemed seriously emotional disturbed. The investigation revealed the conditions have lasted approximately six months for disciplinary action for the children."

Deputies said the abuse went on for six months, and the 17-year-old told someone at school about what was happening on Monday.

Investigators said if it weren't for the girl's courage, the abuse may still be going on.

The children were removed from the custody of the Cater’s and placed in foster care by DCS. The children are receiving services and medical evaluations.

DCS said it's had "no previous involvement with this family."

The children's friends said they were nice and quiet. They said they rode the bus with them every day, but not once, did they ever mention what was happening.

Detectives interviewed the couple who admitted to their roles in the confinement and treatment to the children.

The couple remains in custody pending their arraignment in Tipton County General Sessions Court.


  • whoyoukiddin

    Those kids are going to need quite a bit of help to get over this and not turn around and do it to one of their own kids in the future. Now for the custodial parents throw them away and forget about them. They don’t even deserve their day in court.

  • evette

    This breaks my heart. I wonder how authorities found out about this?
    It makes you wonder how many other children are in this situation?
    (grammar police will arrive in ..3…2…1)

  • b59

    Put them out in the circumstances of the frigid temperatures we have had the past few weeks and see how they like it, people like this don’t even need to be given a warm jail cell, instead they will be given the warmth they need, three meals a day and all the light they need to read, computers to email on, and keep in touch with the world. This is horrible for these kids. If I had the funds I would go and take all three of them in and show them what LOVE really is. To many folks cannot even have children and then they mistreated these babies. Jail is to good for these animals.

  • dj

    and l lets not forget free lower to fight for there right as well @b59 ot sicking me how well these people are treated after how they treated other people and even more children…

  • Rita Sandoval

    DCS doesn’t want to give children to people that can’t have children . They rather give them to people that who only want them for the money.

    • Jane Robinson

      Let’s keep the facts straight. DCS did not give these children to these people. The adoptive mother passed away and these children were left in the custody of their caregivers- the Caters. DCS did not know the children prior to Monday.

  • susi

    It sickens me and it made me cry I live in Covington and to think this was going on here…I hope they have not ruined these children I hope they can get therapy..I would not treat an animal like that. hame on you folks and the folks that let them take these kids

  • Natalie Toombs

    This is such a sad situation. We can only be prayerful for these poor children. How are people like the Cater’s allowed to become custodial adoptive parents? Who is checking on the children? Thank goodness that their living conditions were discovered & hopefully they are now in a better environment. Cater’s, remember Karma is for real.

  • Charlotte

    Lock them up and throw the keys away for the winter except for doing some type of work Make them pick cotton in the fall, and work at something else in the summer and winter. Give them portable toilet, 2 meals a day and bread and water at night, bed at 7PM. No computer, or phones.

  • J.C.

    Its amazing the people they will let take kids in. I’m a childrens minister in Memphis, and I had a DCS employee talk to me like I was a worthless individual because I live in a parsonage, and was accused of taking kids in as “mission work”. I guess she just couldn’t understand the fact that my wife and I can’t have children and want to give a child a loving home.

  • Lisa

    I often wonder how many poor children have to go through something so horrible! I would like to get my hands on these two people. This world has become a horrible place. It’s soooooo sad. I’m so glad they escaped their hell. I live comfortably and I made sure my kids did, whatever it took. It breaks my heart!!

  • kay

    Kids go through things like this constantly, people do not realize it because no one knows about it, kids are hurt they are treated like this and want to run away, looks like they never got the chance. Very sad, very sad. The money was all these POS were in this for. I say a bullet to the head for each of them, jail is too good. Hopefully, these kids will be placed somewhere else, and of course, that will be another story.
    would be hard for them to trust anyone again. They will definitely need
    compassion, patience, love and lots of counseling. I just hope they get it.
    I cannot imagine being treated like that as a child nor an adult. jail is too good for these POS, they are a complete waste of space .

  • J.E. King

    Thank heaven the school was able to call for help as was one of the girls. People’s inhumanity to those weaker is more abominable than most of us can imagine, yet it goes on. Especially in these times when children’s protective services have budgets slashed and too few workers, true in every state right now.
    I pray those children get started on the kind of emotional & physical help they so desperately need. Just heart breaking.

  • J.E. King

    I thought she looked like she was plenty frightened. But it’s ignorant to bring race into it unless you forget the white man and woman who held Jaycee Dugard for 18 years in a shed outside San Francisco and abused her in every way possible, including the man fathering children and forcing her to have his children in the shed with his mentally ill wife assisting.
    Sociopathy and mental illness respect no race or station in life, which I say as a nurse who’s worked in Psychiatric Hospitals for decades. What would help are better screenings for prospective foster parents or caretakers, let alone adoptive parents. But again budget cuts leave the neediest children at highest risk. Children needing homes are already traumatized by being separated from their family for whatever reason and unfortunately there are predators—of all colors and stripes–among us.

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