Dad arrested and mom says "cage" is a crib
NORTH MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WOLF) -- A father is facing child endangerment charges after police say he left his 2-year-old son locked in a homemade cage.
Police say he also left two other children, including a newborn, home alone, at a house near Cressona.
Now, the mother is speaking out about the discovery police say they made on Wednesday afternoon.
"We're not bad parents and that's all I'm gonna keep saying," mother Tiffany George, 25, told our sister station WHP. "We did not lock our children in a cage and that's just not right. It's a false statement."
"My kids were not in any type of danger. They were not in danger," says George, who called it a crib or a playpen, and not a cage.
Police say it all started when Cecil Eugene Kutz, 37, better known as Gene, called for an ambulance for his girlfriend Tiffany George around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Investigators say George was having complications after a birth that happened around 9 p.m. on Tuesday. George was taken to the hospital.
"The mom gave birth to that child the night before in the residence, and now mom is in there in bad shape, bleeding, so they were concerned for the child beause obviously mom wasn't there with the child," says police station commander Sgt. Fred Krute.
Troopers say when they went to the home in the 300 block of Chestnut Street around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, no one answered the door.
"The CYS worker was able to call the father of the children, Cecil Kutz, who is the person that we arrested, and they were able to ascertain that nobody was at home," says Trooper Dave Beohm, a Troop L public information officer.
Police say they forced their way in to the house and found the toddler in the cage just inside the front door, and two other children, and they were all home alone.
"There was a 22-month-old child who was locked in a homemade cage. It was kind of fastened out of plywood and lattice, wooden lattice, had a a door on it with a barrel bolt so you could lock the door from the outside," says Beohm.
"It's a bolt lock, slide lock," says Krute. "There were sort of toys. There was a sippy cup and a blanket."
Next to the cage, police say they found a younger, one-year-old boy, and the newborn , one-day-old girl sitting in a baby seat.
Police say the entire cage, which incorporated 2x4s, was six feet high and three feet deep, but the inside space was smaller.
"The inside of the cage didn't even allow the child to be able to stand all the way up in there," says Beohm.
Police say Kutz, who has a garage next door, reported he'd gone to visit George in the hospital, which is about 10 minutes away in Pottsville.
"From the time we got there until the time he arrived was 40 minutes so before that, we're not sure," says Krute. "There is no good reason. There is no, any reason to put a child in a cage."
Police say the newborn baby was taken to the hospital and CYS took the two boys. The bail for Kutz is set at $250,000.