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Florence couple accused of keeping 4-year-old in 'deplorable conditions'

Posted at 12:59 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 21:04:09-04

FLORENCE, Ky. — Prosecutors say a Florence couple habitually locked their 4-year-old son in a bedroom filled with trash and human feces, with only a foam mat to sleep on, for up to 15 hours a day to “prevent any distractions while the other children in the home virtually attended school.”

A call to local family services may have saved the boy's life.

"There's been a lot of unimaginable conditions that this child has lived through," Lt. Philip Ridgell said Monday.

Forty-four-year-old Troy Caseltine and 40-year-old Susan Caseltine, the boy’s parents, were arrested Monday on felony charges of criminal abuse. Their son and his siblings have all been removed from the couple’s care.

According to Ridgell, a third party who had become aware of the abuse called deputies and family services workers to the Caseltines’ Ashford Drive home on May 10. They found the 4-year-old “physically locked in a bedroom and living in deplorable conditions.”

“Inside of the bedroom, where the victim remained locked inside for approximately 15 hours each day, was human feces, which was slung all over the walls and ceiling, a ‘potty-training mat,’ a single foam mat where the victim slept, holes in the wall, along with trash and food on the floor,” Ridgell wrote in a news release. “Outside of the 15-hour confinement, the Caseltines allowed the victim to be out of the bedroom but would place him back in if he experienced and (sic) ‘outburst.’”

The Caseltines’ children have been placed safely with a foster family, according to Ridgell.

He compared their case to other recent incidents of child abuse in the Cincinnati area, including the deaths of Nylo Lattimore, Nahla Miller and James Hutchinson. All were young children; police believe all three were killed by adults who had been entrusted with their care.

"We're happy that we were able to intervene along with the Cabinet (of Health and Family Services), remove the child, get the child placed in a safe environment where he can begin a healing process," Ridgell said.

The couple’s bond has been set at $500,000 cash.