The 11 children saved from a house where authorities say some of them slept in homemade cages are polite, well-behaved, well-dressed and appear to have been well-fed, neighbors and authorities said Tuesday.
Their adoptive parents, Michael Gravelle, 56, and Sharen Gravelle, 57, denied in a custody hearing Monday that they abused or neglected the children, who are ages 1-14 and have conditions that included autism and fetal alcohol syndrome.
No charges had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon, and messages left with the couple's lawyer were not immediately returned.
The Gravelles have said a psychiatrist recommended they make the children sleep in the cages, Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler told the Norwalk Reflector. The parents said the children, including some who had mental disorders, needed to be protected from each other, according to a search warrant on file at Norwalk Municipal Court, reports Washington Post.
They were removed from the house in Wakeman, northern Ohio, after a children's services investigator spotted one of the children in a cage.
Lt Randy Sommers, of Huron County Sheriff's Office, told the Associated Press that they had found nine cages built into the wall of an upstairs bedroom.
The cages had alarms that went off if opened, he said.
One of the boys said he had been made to sleep in a cage at night for three years, Lt Sommers said. The doors to some of the cells were blocked with heavy furniture.
Prosecutors are reviewing the case against Sharen and Mike Gravelle, who are foster or adoptive parents to all the children. No charges had been filed as of Monday night, informs the AP.
Photo: the AP