Children Say They Were Kept in Cages; Two Adults Headed for Arraignment - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/3/2007-TOLEDO, Ohio

Children Say They Were Kept in Cages; Two Adults Headed for Arraignment

Jessica Botzko and John Westover have been charged with child endangerment. Jessica Botzko and John Westover have been charged with child endangerment.
Police say the cages were inside this mobile home. Police say the cages were inside this mobile home.
A Toledo couple is sitting behind bars after police say they locked their two kids in cages.  Police arrested 28-year-old Jessica Botzko and 37-year-old John Westover on charges of child endangerment.  They will face a judge in Toledo on Thursday morning.

Police tell us the two children -- ages 5 and 10 -- were picked up at a home on the 300 block of Westwood on Wednesday afternoon. The children told police they ran away from their mobile home on Nebraska because they were being locked in cages.  The two-foot high cages were barely big enough for the kids to fit inside.

"[The children] indicated some drug activity in the house that at times the father wanted them out of the way while he conducted some drug activity," said Captain Ray Carroll of the Toledo Police.  "Children and older people, I've always said, are our most innocent victims."

Police searched the home Wednesday morning. They say the home was filthy, with garbage all over the floor.

Neighbors tell News 11 the boys were never allowed, to just be boys.  "All is seen is him in his window and I started asking him questions," said Jason Vincent.  "He looked sad and stuff."  Another neighbor, Tiffany, wouldn't do an on-camera interview, but had a similar story.  "They were never allowed outside at all," she said.  "The little boy would sit in the window crying and he would throw toys to my son but he would never be allowed outside to play."

Neighbors told us it was about time police moved in.  "I think it's crazy," said neighbor Adam Avaritt.  "Shouldn't be having kids in cages. It's messed up."  Neighbor Chris Persinger agreed.  "It's sickening," said Chris.  "It really is."

Botzko and Westover will appear in Toledo Municipal Court on Thursday.  Right now, they're charged with child endangerment -- and police could file additional charges.

Count on News 11 to provide more on this developing story.

Updated by AEB

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