Woman accused of child abuse in Farmington ordered prison uniforms for children

Daryl Justen Head and Laura Elizabeth Cheatham

Missouri police say officials discovered four children on Tuesday, coming out of "specially constructed" boxes that were "smaller than a jail cell", without water, lighting, plumbing or windows.

St. Francois County Sheriff Daniel Bullock says officers found the children Tuesday in a home in Farmington, about 60 miles south of St. Louis. Investigators with this department took custody of the uniforms from officials at Farmington Correctional Center along with cardboard patterns that are marked "kids pants", "kids shirt", etc., and work order documentation.

When they got inside the home, they found Cheatham removing the plywood from several boxes before children came out from them, Fox2 reported. Based on information alleged in the hotline report, investigators believed that children within the home were being confined in rooms secured with plywood and screws.

On Tuesday, police said Daryl Head and Cheatham, both 38-year-old, are charged with multiple counts of kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child.

"I've seen some pretty nasty things, but nothing this deplorable", Bullock told reporters.

"Reactive attachment disorders can be really challenging for parents", said Dr. Jennifer Ladage, a SLUCare pediatrician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.

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Both Head and Cheatham were arrested.

Police said Laura Cheatham, a recent former employee of the Missouri Department of Corrections, ordered four kids-size prison inmate uniforms from the Prison Industries Clothing Division.

The sheriff says the kids are Laura's adopted kids with her estranged husband. "This is the kind of thing that happens somewhere else, and not here". Neighbours told KMOV that they sometimes saw the children outside doing manual labour.

A couple has been charged with eight counts of child endangerment and kidnapping for allegedly trapped four children in plywood boxes inside a Missouri home.

As it is an ongoing investigation, the couple could face additional charges if more incriminating evidence emerges.

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