Children locked in small, windowless boxes in Farmington home

ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, MO - Authorities in St. Francois County are investigating a child abuse case where children were kept confined in small, windowless boxes within a home. According to the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a home in the 100 block of Meadowbrook in Farmington, MO, to assist the Missouri Children’s Division Investigators with a Child Abuse Hotline call.

The call alleged that children in the home were being kept locked in rooms secured with plywood and screws.

Investigators were initially denied entry into the home by the 38-year-old homeowner, Daryl J. Head.  Once they got inside, they discovered Laura Cheatham, 38, removing the plywood from several boxes and children coming out from them. The four children, three girls, and a boy are between the ages of 5 and 12-year old.

The Sheriff's Department describes the rooms in which the children were being held as “specially constructed” with no windows or lighting.

Both adults were placed under arrest at the scene.  Head and Cheatham each face multiple counts for child endangerment and kidnapping. The children have been placed in the care of the Missouri Children’s Division.