There is a special place in hell for people who neglect and abuse children. On December 16, 2016, Pulaski County Sheriff's Department visited a home on County Road 800 in North Judson, Indiana to investigate abuse allegations. What they found was horrific.
Six children were discovered in the home including a 3-year old girl imprisoned inside a filthy wooden box.
The little girl was forced to exist in a deplorable condition. The sheets and the pad in the bottom of the box were soiled and there were several dead bugs inside. According to Sheriff Jeffrey Richwine—who was on the scene— the toddler was locked inside the box in the evening and for extended periods of time during the day. There are also reports that the little girl was routinely denied any kind of human interaction and that her 7-year old brother was frequently locked in his bedroom.
"Never seen anything like this. You go in there and think, 'Hopefully this is not true. Nobody's going to have a small girl in a box, that's just not going to happen.' And you go there, when they say it, you just don't believe it. You're thinking, 'My God, who would do this.'"
Had it not been for the details of a Westville Correctional Facility inmate's monitored phone conversation, these children might not have been rescued. What's even worse is the fact that not one of the adults told police about the 3-year old girl. She could easily have been left alone undiscovered as everyone present in the home was taken into custody.
“Nobody spoke up about a little girl in the box. Even as we were taking them out of the house, no one spoke up and said, ‘Hey, there’s a little girl over here in the box,'” Sheriff Jeff Richwine told WSBT-TV.
WNDU reporter Jen Cardone interviewed the grandparents of Christopher's 3-year old and 7-year old children, Frank Jackson and Lori Smith. They allege that since their daughter's death, Christopher has kept them from spending any time with their grandchildren. Jackson had heard rumors, but was shocked and distraught over the news that they had been subjected to such horrendous treatment.
Donna, Christopher, and Patricia Meeks (18) have all been charged with child neglect, a Level 5 felony. If convicted, they could face 1 to 6 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Michael Meeks (19), Thelma Meeks (38), Derrick Butala (36), Shawn Griffin (18), Anna Senesac (19), and Timothy Senesac (18) have been charged with failure to report child abuse.
The fate of these children is in the hands of the courts and there is no way to know how much psychological damage has been done. They may never recover from the trauma that abuse and living in squalor can cause. All nine of these people must be held accountable for their roles in this tragedy. None of them are innocent. Someone should have stood up for these children. You either condone the behavior or condemn the behavior. There is no middle ground here.