A Virginia woman was arrested after social workers found two of her five kids caged like animals in a “filthy” home because she was “overwhelmed”.
Malista Ness-Hopkins, 38, from Mears, Virginia, was charged with five counts of abuse and neglect after her five children were removed from the family’s Mears home July 28, after social workers visited and found them trapped inside cribs which had bars screwed on top.
Social worker Kate Bonniwell said last week during a preliminary hearing that she found two toddler children locked into cribs — which had been bitten and clawed from the inside — while investigating a complaint against the mother.
She added that the children didn’t act like normal children, and described them as “filthy, with multiple bug bites.” They were infested with lice, she told the court.
She also found a one-year-old child in a crib that did not have a cage lid. In another room, two more children– ages five and six– were found lying on a bare, dirty, ripped-up mattress.
There was also a dog in the home, according to reports, but there is no word on the animal’s condition.
The sink and bathtub were filled with dirty dishes and trash, she said, including rotted food.
Another social worker testified the home had no toys or clothes.
The judge recommended the case to a grand jury after rejecting the defense attorney’s arguments, saying the conditions had not developed overnight.
“There is no evidence that the conditions were directly harmful to the children,” argued defense attorney Tucker Watson. “She was overwhelmed.”
The judge ordered Ness-Hopkins to have a psychiatric evaluation. She’s out on $10,000 bail but will be facing a grand jury for charges of abuse and neglect.