Sheriff: Missouri woman said prison outfits were 'for her kids'

Missouri police arrested Daryl J. Head and Laura Cheatham after four children were found locked in boxes. Source St Francis County Sherriff's Department

Missouri couple Laura Cheatham, 38, and Daryl Head, 38, were arrested Tuesday for allegedly keeping four children inside small boxes, according to KMOV.

Investigators with the Missouri Children's Division and police showed up to the home, according to the sheriff's office. Investigators for the Farmington Police Department took custody of the uniforms from the Farmington Correctional Center. Shortly after they entered the home, they saw 38-year-old Laura Cheatem, Daryl's partner trying to unscrew the plywood as a 6-year-old boy appeared from behind the panel.

The spaces had no plumbing, and officers said they believe the children had to use vents in the floor for bathrooms.

A man and woman who lived in the home, Daryl Justen Head and Laura Elizabeth Cheatham, both 38, were charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child and three counts of kidnapping. "They were in just play clothes and I assure you that if any of us knew anything like that, or even thought children were going to be corralled in boxes, we would have gotten together to do something an I'm very thankful for whoever did call that in". Authorities said the children were adopted by Cheatham and her estranged husband, adding that two of them were related to each other but none are related to the suspects.

The case surfaced after an unknown caller contacted a child abuse hotline and authorities went to investigate the tip. "This is the kind of thing that happens somewhere else, and not here".


The children have been placed in government care. Cheatham and Head are being held in the county jail on $500,000 bail each.

News 4 learned that Cheatham was an employee at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre.

All things considered, however, they seemed to be in good health.

A couple has been charged with eight counts of child endangerment and kidnapping for allegedly trapped four children in plywood boxes inside a Missouri home.

Prosecutors are not ruling out more charges.

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