The two-foot plywood box that was holding the little girl. (NBC NEWS WNDU)
In Pulaski County in Indiana, police received an unusual phone tip that led them to a house, only to find a little girl locked in a box filled with dead bugs.
The unusual phone tip received by police was from an inmate at the Indiana state prison. The inmate called police to check on the welfare of the young girl. When police arrived to the house, no one in the house mentioned that the little girl was in the box.
“Even while we were in there and started taking people out, nobody spoke up and said, ‘Hey, there’s a little girl over here in a box,’” said Pulaski County Sheriff Jeffrey Richwine.
Sheriff Richwine said that he had “never seen anything like this,” when talking about the child cruelty case.
“It’s one of those deals; you go there and think, ‘hopefully this is not true,’” Richwine said. “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?’”
The unthinkable living circumstances.
The box was also filled with dead bugs. (NBC NEWS WNDU)
The plywood box was holding more than just the little girl. Sheriff Richwine said that this was the worst case of child abuse that he could recall.
Frank Jackson, the girl’s grandfather, said he was “appalled” at how the child was treated in the home.
“I’ve seen people treat their animals better,” Jackson said. “It’s like a nightmare and I wish I’d wake up.”
The plywood box was lined on the inside with dirty blankets and pads. Under the soiled lining, you can see that the box was also filled with dead bugs.
The 3-year-old girl was found inside this box at the house of her father, Christopher Short, 25 and his wife, Donna Short, 42.
Christopher Short said that the little girl would go in and out of the box on her own. Donna Short added that the little girl decided to “stay in the box all night.”
The 3-year-old girl was allegedly kept in the box for extended periods of time during the evening. According to authorities, the box would sometimes be locked so that the girl could not get out of it. The girl is thought to have only spoken rarely.
The box had a small screw with a mechanism that made the box unable to be opened when tightened, said Sheriff Richwine.
The fear of common circumstances for other children.
The inside of the box, filled with soiled linens and dead bugs. (NBC)
“Family members could hear her crying,” said Sheriff Richwine.
“This house was full of bugs, cockroaches everywhere; this box had cockroaches in it. She was laying in there asleep,” said Sheriff Richwine.
Sheriff Richwine said it is time to start doing something about children who are living in similar environments.
“I’ve heard several DCS people say that their plan is to put families back together. Somewhere you got to say that’s probably not the best environment for these kids whose parents can’t and won’t get their acts together,” Sheriff Richwine said.
Her grandfather just wants the chance to raise her.
Jackson said that since the child’s mother, his daughter, passed away he has rarely been allowed to see his grandchildren.
“If you could lock a child in a box for long periods of time, who knows what he’s capable of,” said Jackson. “What kind of health issues are my grandkids going to have later in the future because of this?” he said.
“It could affect them for life. I pray not. We would love and care for them kids in a flat minute,” he continued. “I’m devastated by it, you know, if they didn’t want them. I’ve tried to tell them all, I’ll take them in a minute.”
“This is definitely a problem, that somehow we’ve got to get this figured out where we’re not putting kids back in these same messes and then letting it start all over again,” said Sheriff Richwine.
“We’ve gotten with the prosecutor and what we’re starting to do – and what we’re going to do is actually arrest people for neglect,” said Sheriff Richwine.