New disturbing details in West Tennessee caged child case

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HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hundreds of animals in deplorable conditions and a child caged in a kennel. On Thursday, we learned new details in a disturbing case out of Henry County as the three suspects were in court for a preliminary hearing.

42-year-old Heather Scarbrough, 46-year-old T.J. Brown, and 82-year-old Charles Brown face a number of charges including aggravated child abuse and aggravated cruelty to animals.

The hearing revealed that Scarbrough and T.J. are the parents of the child, while Charles Brown is the grandfather and owner of the property.

Investigators described the filthy conditions the family lived inside their trailer, including the strong smell of ammonia, feces, and urine on the floor and dozens of cockroaches crawling inside the child’s kennel.

The defense said the kennel was just a makeshift playpen for a lower-income family. The chief investigating officer of the case with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said there is a big difference between a playpen and a kennel, especially under the conditions.

“When I put a child in a playpen, there’s not 8 snakes, hundreds of rats and hamsters and mice up against the cage, there’s no cockroaches in the cage, there’s not urine-soaked clothes in the cage, I mean, there’s a big difference,” the investigator said from the stand.

He said all three suspects stated that the kennel was the safest place for the child to be inside the trailer considering the conditions, and he agreed.

The defense pointed out that a rash was the only condition anyone could see that the one-year-old suffered from. A DCS worker was also among the witnesses that took the stand. She testified that they conducted a hair follicle test on the child and that he tested positive for THC.

Charles Brown, who already bonded out, waived his rights to a preliminary hearing Thursday and is set to be arraigned on November 9.

Possession of firearms charges against Scarbrough was dismissed, and a marijuana possession charge was reduced from a class B felony to a class C felony. All of the other charges were bound over, according to one of the attorneys.

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