Two charged after baby kept in cage, deputies say

Haley Trantham and Vincent Lee II (Madison Co. Sheriff's Office)

MADISON COUNTY, NC (WSPA) – Madison County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested two people after investigators say a baby was kept in a cage.

“I never could expect anybody to do something like that,” said Teresa Naulta. She lives a few doors away from where deputies discovered a scene this mother finds hard to understand. “When you have a child and you hold them in your arms and everything – you feel that love and protection and you want to take care of them.”

A child less than two years old was found in a cage Wednesday, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies say the baby was confined to the cage at least 23 hours every day on the home’s second floor. Investigators believe the baby was only given very little food.

“First, I felt really really sad and horrified and shocked even though in this line of work we deal with this a lot,” said My Sister’s Place Executive Director Joyce Cody.

The organization advocates for victims of abuse. “Usually when you see children that have been abused at his age, they can have failure to thrive, trouble gaining weight, trouble sleeping, irritability. A lot of times their cognitive motor skills are very delayed,” said Cody.

She says effects can be reverted if the child is placed in a nurturing environment.

Deputies first found the baby after getting a child neglect complaint.

“A lot of times – especially in rural communities, we think that it is a family matter, a private matter or it’s probably not as bad as we think,” said Cody. “We really need to know it’s a criminal matter.”

Haley Trantham and Vincent Lee, II were arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

“I guess we need to be more aware,” said Naulta. “I’m glad somebody was able to see that and stop it from happening.”

Sheriff Harwood says the baby has received medical treatment but there’s no word on its condition.

Both suspects were jailed on $20,000 bond each. Trantham was also charged with possession of marijuana.