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11-year-old Nevada boy with autism kept in metal cage at home, parents charged with child abuse

11-year-old Nevada boy with autism kept in metal cage at home, parents charged with child abuse

A Nevada couple were arrested Tuesday after authorities found their 11-year-old son with autism held in a metal cage, wearing only a diaper with feces smeared on its floor.

Henderson police officers went to the boy’s home to conduct a wellness check at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, when the Clark County School District asked for assistance with a “truancy issue” involving a student who had not been coming to school.

Police said officers discovered the was “being contained within a large metal enclosure.”

The residence also had “inhospitable living conditions,” police said.

Misty Scanlan, 46, and Jeffery Scanlan, 41, were arrested and each charged with a felony count of child abuse or neglect.

Neither of the Scanlans immediately returned calls requesting comment Thursday.

A truancy officer had visited the Scanlan home earlier in the day to inquire about the boy, but no one answered at the door, according to an arrest report obtained by NBC affiliate KSNV of Las Vegas. The officer reported hearing a child screaming and a gate rattling inside.

When a Henderson police officer arrived later for a follow-up check, Jeffrey Scanlan answered and told him their children were sick, and he allowed the officer inside when he was asked, KSNV reported. That’s when the officer saw the metal enclosure, which he described as similar to a jail cell, and a boy wearing “only a diaper.” The enclosure “had feces on the floor,” as well, the arrest record said.

A Special Victims Unit detective who arrived to conduct an investigation and a walk-through of the home, according to KSNV, described rooms with no furniture, trash strewn around and feces on the wall and the floor, as well as rooms with external locks preventing anyone inside from leaving.

Jeffrey Scanlan allegedly told law enforcement officers that his child exhibited aggressive behavior due to a severe diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and that the metal enclosure was used as a “semi-punitive measure when his behavior is out of control,” KSNV reported.

Court records show the Scanlans posted bond Wednesday and are scheduled to appear again in court in May.

Doha Madani

Doha Madani is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News. Pronouns: she/her.

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