Tennessee couple accused of locking child in cage get probation


A Jonesborough couple, accused of putting an autistic girl in a cage in their home, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in a Washington County courtroom. 

Mickey Sparks and Patricia Laws were originally charged with aggravated child neglect, but after the plea deal, they both now face a lesser charge of child neglect.

Investigators said, in February 2017,  they found the couple’s daughter locked inside a cage in their Jonesborough home.

According to court documents, Sparks and Laws said they had been using the cage for three to four years. 

Deputies reported at the time, when they entered the bedroom of the home they found a locked wooden cage on a mattress and an autistic girl, age 10, inside it.  Deputies reported the cage smelled of urine and feces.

In addition, deputies said three other children lived in the home.

According to the sheriff’s office, the Department of Children’s Services responded and removed the children from the home.  

Sparks and Laws each will serve a year of probation.  

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