Nevada Couple Arrested for Locking Autistic Son in 'Makeshift Jail Cell,' Neglecting Other Children

Nevada couple accused of locking autistic son in 'makeshift jail cell' and neglecting other children, highlighting challenges faced by families with special needs.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Nevada Couple Arrested for Locking Autistic Son in 'Makeshift Jail Cell,' Neglecting Other Children

Nevada Couple Arrested for Locking Autistic Son in 'Makeshift Jail Cell,' Neglecting Other Children

A Henderson, Nevada couple, Misty Scanlan, 46, and Jeffery Scanlan, 41, were accused of felony child abuse and neglect after police found their 11-year-old autistic son locked in a "makeshift jail cell" and their three other children living in a feces-smeared home.

Police were called to the Scanlan residence for a welfare check after the 11-year-old boy failed to show up for school. Upon entering the home, officers discovered the boy confined in a large metal enclosure similar to a jail cell, wearing only a diaper and surrounded by feces. The enclosure had metal bars and locked doors, and the boy had to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

The home itself was described as being in "extreme disarray" with an "inhospitable living condition." Feces were found smeared on the walls, ceilings, and floors throughout the house, which had barely any furniture. The couple's other children, including another child with autism, were also allegedly mistreated. The parents admitted to locking one of the children in her room at night and sometimes duct-taping a shirt over her diaper.

When questioned by police, the Scanlans claimed they had installed the enclosure about six years ago to control their son's behavior due to his severe autism. "He's big and strong," Misty Scanlan told officers, adding that the boy was sometimes aggressive and had tried to escape to the neighbors' homes. The couple said they had not sought proper resources for their children because they "did not know where to start" and "did not want strangers in their house."

Why this matters: This disturbing case highlights the challenges and lack of support faced by some families with autistic children, as well as the critical importance of ensuring all children are protected from abuse and neglect, regardless of their disabilities. It also raises questions about the availability and accessibility of resources and services for families in need.

The three other children were taken into custody by Child Protective Services and placed with family members. Misty and Jeffery Scanlan were booked into the Henderson Detention Center, each on one count of felony child abuse and neglect. They were released the next day on $5,000 bail and are scheduled to appear in court on May 15. The shocking conditions found in the home have left neighbors and the community reeling. "It's gut-wrenching," said one neighbor. "To think of the suffering and lasting impact on that poor child is just heartbreaking."

Key Takeaways

  • Nevada couple accused of locking autistic son in "makeshift jail cell"
  • Home found in "extreme disarray" with feces smeared throughout
  • Couple claimed they locked child to control his behavior due to autism
  • 3 other children also allegedly mistreated, taken into custody by CPS
  • Couple charged with felony child abuse and neglect, released on bail