(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.