UPDATE: Two charged after keeping 9-year-old girl in cage "to keep her safe"
48-year-old Dale Deavers and 46-year-old Gail Lalonde were arrested after the 9-year-old girl told her teacher she was being locked in a cage at night.
The confession from the student came after the teacher ashed why the student's hair was so short. The student said they cut their own hair incorrectly and their grandmother, Gail Lalonde, cut the rest of the hair short as punishment. The girl then said they were being kept in a locked cage at night. The cage was identified as eight feet by four feet and locked with a key. Dale Deavers bought the cage at Menard's at the end of August.
The girl told her teacher that she was being locked in the cage because she had been going into medicine cabinets at home and destroying things. A social worker at the school told authorities she had been aware of other incidents of the girl being put under the kitchen table and restrained in a bathtub.
When authorities went to the house and talked with Gail Lalonde, she admitted to putting the fourth grader in the cage because "she hurts animals, threatens to kill us, eats Ridex and cleaners." The grandmother said she was trying to keep the girl safe. The girl had been locked in the cage for approximately two weeks.
While authorities were searching the home, they found an active marijuana grow operation in the basement. The cage the girl had been kept in was located next to a false wall with 23 live marijuana plants were growing. Officials seized 121.9 grams of dried marijuana ready for use and extensive equipment for ventilating the room, lights and irrigation.
Due to the marijuana grow operation both Deavers and Lalonde were also charged with manufacture of THC and maintaining a drug trafficking place.
"The allegations are that he bought a cage for a nine-year-old and that there was a significant marijuana grow operation in the basement," says court commissioner Alice Rudebusch when addressing both suspects in court on Friday. "I'm going to set a $55,000 bond."
Commissioner Rudebusch also ordered both suspects not to consume or possess controlled substances, Racine County testing, and no contact with each other, the minor, or the minor's step sister who was also in their custody.