Child locked in dog kennel tells detectives he ‘lived outside’ for months; 3 family members arrested

Three adults in North Carolina have been arrested after a child was found locked inside a dog kennel outside a home in below-freezing temperatures last week and told detectives he had “lived outside” for months.

Deputies responded around 7 a.m. on Oct. 19 to a home in Lexington after an anonymous citizen reported a child locked outside in a dog kennel, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies arrived at the home and confirmed that the 9-year-old child was inside the dog kennel, which was secured with a padlock, investigators said.

Sheriff Richie Simmons told reporters that temperatures were as low as 28 degrees overnight, and the clothes found inside the kennel were not enough to provide warmth to the child.


Deputies broke into the kennel and the child was rushed to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem. The child was evaluated and released that same day.

After removing the child from the kennel, deputies forced entry into the home and located an adult identified as Sarah Starr and two other children, an infant and a 4-year-old. The children were unharmed.

Deputies arrested Sarah Starr, the child’s stepmother, Jonathan Starr, the child’s biological father, and Shelley Barnes, the aunt of Sarah Starr and owner of the property.

Investigators told reporters they believe the situation involving the child being put in the locked dog kennel was ongoing.

The child told detectives he did not have a room inside the house “because he lived outside” since April, FOX8 WGHP reported, citing an arrest affidavit.

Sarah Starr reportedly told detectives that only her aunt knew the combination to the padlock. She also told deputies that she has two other children, who were later located at an elementary school. 

All five children were in good health and in the custody of the Department of Social Services, the sheriff’s office said.

Sarah and Jonathan Starr were charged with felony child abuse, misdemeanor child abuse, and false imprisonment. They were each being held on a $100,000 bond.

Barnes was charged with felony child abuse, misdemeanor child abuse, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm by felon, and maintaining a dwelling place for controlled substances. She was being held on a $300,000 bond.

Three adults were arrested in North Carolina last week after a child was found locked in a dog kennel overnight in below freezing temperatures on a home’s property.

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