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Crime

West Virginia Mom Allegedly Locked Two Young Sons in ‘Kennel’-Like Enclosures Without Clothes or Bathroom Access

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Kristal Richard, 33, of West Virginia
Kanawha County

A woman has been arrested after her two sons were found Monday in “kennel”-like enclosures in her home, naked and surrounded by their own waste, say West Virginia State Police.

The alleged victims were 2 and 5 years old, a West Virginia State Police spokesman tells PEOPLE. When troopers freed the 5-year-old from his box, he yelled “Yippie!,” the spokesman says.

“The way that these children were pinned up, caged up, however you want to say it, it was the worst I’d ever seen, bar none,” First Class Trooper N.M. Manolakos of the West Virginia State Police told local TV station WSAZ.

“No bedding, no bed, no mattress, feces scattered all over the wall. Horrible conditions … more like a kennel than a room for a child,” Manolakos added.

On Monday, the boys’ mother, Kristal Richard, 33, of Shrewsbury, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect with risk of injury, a West Virginia State Police spokesman tells PEOPLE.

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Prosecutors are working with West Virginia State Police to determine if there will be additional charges, say police.

After her arrest, the two boys were placed in the care of Child Protective Services. They are now staying with a family member, says the spokesman.

Acting on an anonymous tip, troopers on Monday went to Richard’s home in the tiny town of Shrewsbury in East Kanawha County, where they found the two boys, says the spokesman.

The 2-year-old boy was allegedly naked and locked in a tarp-covered, plywood enclosure that “had a plate of food in it,” says the spokesman.

“Troopers then discovered a 5-year-old locked inside some other type of enclosure, naked as well,” he says.

The boys apparently did not have access to a bathroom, says the spokesman. He adds that the boys ate and slept in the enclosures, which lacked beds or mattresses and had food scattered about.

Manolakos said that while the conditions in the enclosures were “awful,” the rest of the house was cleaner.

Neighbors and family members told WSAZ they had no idea that the children were living in these conditions. Many neighbors told the station they didn’t even know children lived in the home.

Richard was arraigned on Tuesday and is being held in the South Central Regional Jail on a $10,000 cash-only bond.

She has not yet entered a plea. It was not immediately clear if she has retained an attorney.

PEOPLE’s calls to Richard’s husband, family members and to the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office were not immediately returned.