KEY POINTS

  • The couple's relationship with the child has not been revealed
  • The girl was locked up in a closet with puppy pads on the floor
  • Police were alerted by an anonymous caller who knew about the child's condition

A Louisiana couple has been arrested and charged with cruelty for locking up a seven-year-old girl inside a closet at their home. 

Tiffany Cupp, 33, and Jack Branton, 32, were arrested Friday from their home on Cedar Drive at Belle Chasse, reported WWL-TV.

The duo has been charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile after the child was found to have sustained injuries during her ordeal. They were out of jail Tuesday on a $25,000 bond each.

Police were alerted by a 911 caller, who raised serious allegations about the way the child was being treated at the home. However, officers have not revealed the child's relationship with the arrested couple.

"This is a situation where a child was kept in a locked closet. That’s what they had for the child. And in a room with puppy pads on the floor for feces and all that," Plaquemines Parish District Attorney Charles Ballay was quoted as saying, by the news outlet. 

According to the statement from the Sheriff's Office, the investigation revealed the child in the care of Cupp and Branton had been "living in substandard conditions and received significant injuries due to the living conditions."

Officers took the child to Children's Hospital for an evaluation and medical treatment.

"Our main thing is we know this child is protected now, so it’s not like the child’s going back with either of them now and from my standpoint, hopefully never,” Ballay told WWL-TV.

Ballay was also grateful that someone alerted the authorities about the child's living condition. "Many a time, unless a -- I’m going to say a nosy neighbor -- or perhaps a good relative here might call this to the attention of law enforcement and family services, we don’t know about these."

If convicted, the couple could face up to 40 years in prison. "The penalty is zero to 40 years. That’s the same thing as manslaughter, zero to 40. So that tells you how serious the Legislature takes it and the people take it," Ballay further said. 

A few days ago, a New York couple was put behind bars after they were accused of abusing an eight-year-old child. Police said the child was handcuffed to a futon and denied food and water. They also forced the child to wear soiled underwear on their head. 

child-sitting Representational image Photo: Pixabay