Sep. 3—CANTON, Ohio — A Canton couple is accused of keeping a 7-year-old girl, who weighed only 28 pounds, in a dog cage in the basement of their home, according to police and court records.
Lillian Cottrell, 29, and her boyfriend, Derek Mayle, 30, were arrested Tuesday at their home by a U.S. Marshals task force after a grand jury indicted them on charges of endangering children.
The child stayed with a relative for about two weeks in the summer of 2019, according to Assistant Prosecutor Dan Petricini. When the relative was preparing to drop off the child, “that’s when the child said, but I don’t want to go back to [Cottrell’s] house because I have to sleep in the cage,” Petricini said.
The relative called Canton police and Stark County Child Protective Services, and the investigation began. Petricini said the child weighed about 28 pounds, placing her in the lowest percentile for body weight among girls her age, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The relative has had full legal custody of the girl since then, Petricini said.
The charges were part of a secret indictment, which alleges that Cottrell and Mayle did “torture and cruelly abuse” the child from Jan. 1, 2019 to July 30, 2019.
A Canton police spokesman said the girl was kept in the dog cage as a form of punishment, and that it was locked with a padlock.
Since the case is on-going, Petricini declined to provide details about the accusations, including how often the girl was in the cage, or other instances of abuse or neglect.
Two older children lived in the home, but their custody has changed and they are living with a relative, Petricini said. Detectives don’t believe the other children were abused or neglected in the same way as the girl, according to police.
A judge on Thursday set bond for Cottrell and Mayle at $1 million, court records show. They are scheduled to appear in court Friday for a hearing.