A 43-year-old woman in Florida is facing criminal charges after allegedly locking her daughter with autism inside a makeshift metal and wood cage.

According to multiple reports, Palm Bay Police rushed to the home on Saturday after receiving a call from a neighbor who had seen an unknown child walking into his screened-in patio. When they arrived, authorities learned that the young girl lived at the house next door.

Related: Wentworth Miller Reveals He Was Diagnosed With Autism At 48 Years Old

They knocked several times on the door of Melissa Ann Doss’ home. However, per their report, she refused to open the door and eventually hopped over the backyard fence to meet with the officers out front. Doss explained to the cops that the child was living with her and had escaped out the back door while she was sleeping. When the police asked to enter the home to check on the environment, the woman suspiciously denied access.

Later that same day, they were called back into the neighborhood because the young girl returned to her neighbor’s home again. Doss reportedly said she was “at the end of her rope” — before refusing once more to allow police inside the residence. According to WESH, the caretaker also stated to the investigators that they would call the Florida Department of Children and Families if they saw what was inside.

Oh yeah, a statement like that wouldn’t have made the authorities wonder whether they should call DCF or not. (FYI, they were notified the very next day.)

Upon entering Doss’ place through the back door, the Orlando Sentinel claimed that officials were immediately hit with the smell of feces and urine. There was a ton of trash, bugs, spiders, flies, and mold dispersed throughout the house. Portions of the roof collapsed, and no part of the floor was visible. The home also did not have working bathrooms, with Doss reportedly telling officers:

“They used the restroom in a bucket and throw the waste in the backyard.”

Absolutely disgusting. Investigators further noted that the two had no access to food or water, calling the property “uninhabitable.” Yeah, you think?!

Unfortunately, though, we have only scratched the surface of the horrors inside the house. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the family seemingly looked to have shared one bed. However, officers soon found a homemade metal and wood cage with a blanket and pillow inside. The daughter allegedly slept there at night and would scream until the morning when Doss freed her.


Since then, social workers have removed the little girl and two other siblings from the location. Doss has also been taken into custody for three counts of child neglect and one count of child abuse. According to People, she was given a $20,000 bond, and it is unclear if the mother entered a plea to the charges at this time.

Our heart breaks for these children, and we truly hope they are safe right now. Reactions to this horrific ordeal, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments (below).

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