Modoc County Sheriff's Office

Parents Who Locked Kids In Cages Escape Child Endangerment Charges

Of all the clear-cut cases in the world, this seems like the biggest slam dunk for child endangerment, right? I mean, just look at the picture above! How is that not a bad thing to do to a child?

Nevertheless, the authorities have decided that this isn't the obvious case that it seems on the surface, and here's how they got to that point.

A series of discoveries at a property in Modoc County, California has left a couple in hot water — although the strange situation isn't as bad for them as it first appeared.

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As KRCR reported, it all started when a California Highway Patrol officer visited the couple's property to sign off on a correctable violation and saw the ground littered with shell casings. Somewhat alarmed, the officer consulted a local deputy and discovered that at least one of the residents there had been prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

So, naturally, the Modoc County Sheriff's Office had to get involved.

Modoc County Sheriff's Office

When Sheriff Tex Dowdy and his deputies went back to the property to serve a search warrant, they found the home full of surprises — although nothing more surprising than two cribs stacked on top of each other, with bars around them and two little kids locked inside.

The cages housed twin boys, about two years old, and they were secured to the wall "like dog crates."

Modoc County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Dowdy and his deputies also found three firearms, ammunition, evidence of a marijuana honey oil lab, and methamphetamines.

No surprise, both parents were taken into custody and the children were handed over to social services.

Mercadies Irene Williams, 25, initially faced three charges.

Modoc County Sheriff's Office

She was booked for possessing firearms while prohibited, possessing ammunition while prohibited, and child endangerment.

Ramon Alberto Zandejas, also 25, faced more charges at first.

Modoc County Sheriff's Office

He was booked for the same firearms and ammunition charges, as well as child endangerment, and also possession of a controlled substance, manufacture of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

However, both later had the child endangerment charges against them dropped.

As Modoc County District Attorney Sam Kyllo said, things weren't quite what they seemed.

"There's no kids in cages and it's not a child endangerment case," Kyllo told KRCR. "They're cribs and you can buy them on Amazon."

He said that the parents had locked the kids up to keep them away from the dangerous things inside the house.

The sheriff's office agreed with the prosecutor on dropping the child endangerment charges.

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Additionally, Kyllo said that the county wouldn't pursue the charges over the honey oil lab. However, Williams and Zandejas still face misdemeanor charges over the methamphetamine possession.


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