MURRAY COUNTY, Ga. - Authorities have made a third arrest in a case involving a special needs children being locked in cages in Murray County.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Gloria Jane Brown, 64, of Cohutta, was arrested Tuesday and charged with cruelty to children and false imprisonment.
Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford said an 11-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl, both with special needs, were subjected to cruel living conditions inside a Chatsworth home on Bahamas Drive for an unknown period of time.
“I've seen a lot of things over the years, but this is just sickening and disheartening,” Sheriff Gary Langford said Friday afternoon.
The GBI said Brown was the caregiver when deputies performed a welfare check on the home. Investigators said the siblings were kept inside homemade cages crafted out of bunk beds and metal.
Investigators also said there's evidence their mother, 34-year-old mother Stephanie Stone, restrained her children for at least the last few months when they weren't in school.
“There was toys and clothes and signs of food inside the cages. When our agent found the boy, he was laying down, curled up in a 2-foot-by-2-foot corner of the cage,” Special Agent In Charge Greg Ramey told FOX 5's Portia Bruner.
Stone and 49-year-old Wanda Sue Redfern were charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment. Investigators said charges could be filed against a third person connected to the home. Investigators said someone tipped them off to the living conditions Thursday.
Stone's father said this is just a big misunderstanding involving a mother struggling to manage with two children with autism.
“She's trying real hard to care for those two. You have to keep them inside so that they can't get out or else they'll get out at night and run into the road and get hurt. She hasn't had much help since her mother was killed in a crash last year. It's hard to get the help you need up here. This is just a big misunderstanding,” Tony Griggs said Friday outside the Murray County Jail.
Griggs is engaged to Redfern and said both children are doing fine.
Stone and Redfern were being held on separate $25,000 bonds.They bonded out of jail on Tuesday.
Brown had a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon.