Police Say Ohio Couple Put 2 Sons in a Cage to Punish Them; Charged With Child Endangerment

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A couple were charged with childen dangerment after their two sons said they were locked up in a cage as punishment or while their father used drugs, authorities said.

Jessica Botzko, 28, and John Westover, 37, were to be arraigned Thursday.

The boys, ages 10 and 5, ran away from home and were found on a neighbor's porch. They told officers that they had been abused and locked in a cage at their home, including when the father used drugs, police Capt. Ray Carroll said.

Police searched the mobile home where the boys lived and found it filled with garbage, Carroll said.

Another Ohio couple, Michael and Sharen Gravelle of Norwalk, were convicted in February of child abuse and endangerment for keeping some of their 11 special-needs adopted children in wire and wood enclosures.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by walter Location: ohio on May 8, 2007 at 12:41 PM
    if a parint do that two ther kids i thay shod get the sam panichmit thay don two the kids than win thay are don than lock them lik anamils two show tham how it fil bing abusd i dont lik slim bal mestreting children
  • by shawn Location: morehead ky on May 5, 2007 at 02:21 PM
    i think they should receive the same treatment
  • by lee Location: letcher co ky on May 4, 2007 at 10:41 PM
    as a mother, i just dont understand parents. what is wrong with people today. may the lord bless those childern. and help them find safty.
  • by Jessica Location: Prestonsburg, KY on May 4, 2007 at 11:55 AM
    This breaks my heart, I can't believe that a parent could actually be this cruel to a child that their suppose to love, care and nurture. What has become of our society when people cage their children like wild dogs?. Even as I am writing this the tears are streaming down, my heart truly goes out to these children. I will be praying for you.
  • by Janet Location: Albany on May 4, 2007 at 11:45 AM
    I agree with Heather. And when these people are locked up they gripe about not having the best of conditions. The court goes too easy on them. Maybe the innocent children won't be placed back in their custody when they are released.
  • by Eric Location: Nicholasville on May 4, 2007 at 05:32 AM
    My name is Eric and I used to live in Toledo. I first heard of this last night on the news and then my dad (who lives in Toledo) called me and we were talking about when I am going to be coming up there and he told me to hang on a sec, that something was on the news. he turned it up loud enough for me to hear over the phone and I told him that I had already heard about this. He told me what they were saying and he said that the people were keeping their kids in cages as a punishment and then the first chance they got the ran away and were found walking on Westwood Ave. And they told the police that they did not want to go home and why. This is one reason that kids become afraid of their parents and adults. I cannot belive that someone would be this cruel to their own children. But it also makes me wonder what they had to live with when they were kids..
  • by Heather Location: Jeffersonville on May 4, 2007 at 05:26 AM
    We need stricter laws against child abusers and sex offenders. These people need to recieve the same abuse and torture as the children recieve and the deserve no rights. I can only imagine what was going through the kids minds. Even though they had stupid parents, the kids were smart to run away and turn their parents in. Children are innocent and they look to their care givers for support, what could they have done to recieve such treatment?
  • by bobbie Location: mount sterling on May 4, 2007 at 02:44 AM
    they need to behind a wire cage for putting their children in cage like an animal
  • by Amanda Location: Kentucky on May 3, 2007 at 06:54 PM
    i have to wonder if orphanages aren't a better solution than foster care. this is absolutely terrible.
  • by Kathy Location: Nicholasville on May 3, 2007 at 03:18 PM
    I think there is just so much wrong going on these days....or at least we are aware of it now......I think may be things like this "used" to happen along time ago as well we, the public just didn't know about it. Things like this were kept silent....it is ashame either way..... I PRAY GOD BLESS US ALL AND I KNOW HE LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN........AND ANYONE WHO HAS IT IN THEM TO HARM THEM I BELIEVE WILL HAVE THEIR JUST REWARD AS GOD SEES FIT........
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