Child abuse suspects released on $20k bond
Travis and Amy Headrick, of Melvina, were charged Monday afternoon in Monroe County Circuit Court. The couple was arrested last Friday for allegedly keeping children in “makeshift cages” after a witness presented a photo to investigators on August 24 of the children in cages inside the couple’s home.
According to the complaint, officers arrived at the home at approximately 5:10 a.m. with a search warrant to find a 10-year-old boy, clothed in only a diaper, confined in a galvanized horse trough with a metal fencing cover secured with 17 industrial strength zip ties. Inside the same room, an 11-year-old boy was locked in a homemade double-stacked wooden cage that required the use of a key to unlock.
In separate rooms, a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy were found locked in bedrooms that could only be opened with a key from a hallway in the home. When investigators opened the bedroom doors, loud audible alarms sounded.
In total there were five children in the home, four of whom were adopted and one whom was the couple’s biological daughter. In addition, the Headricks also housed an elderly disabled adult in the home, who was allegedly being cared for by the couple’s 14-year-old daughter.
According to the complaint, Amy Headrick, 39, told investigators “she is not a bad mom” and that she had a pool that she didn’t want her kids to fall into during the night. She also told investigators the younger of the two boys exhibited behaviors such as defecating and urinating himself before smearing his feces all over himself as well as the walls “causing worms and maggots to be on him.”
She allegedly stated, “I didn’t want to put him in a bathtub and make him sleep in the bathroom, so I thought this was something I could wash and take out for him.” She further claimed he stood in the window and almost fell out of the two-story home.
When asked why the older of the two boys was also confined, Amy stated, the two boys were always “at each other’s ends” and that “they will hurt each other.” She claimed she was just trying to protect her kids.
Travis Headrick, 47, allegedly stated, “my sons have special needs” when asked about why the boys were confined. He further claimed he and his wife had purchased numerous beds for the boys that were destroyed due to their behaviors.
The witness allegedly told investigators, the children are not allowed to leave the house, other than on Sunday for church and she also claimed the adopted children are fed only bologna and cheese sandwiches for each meal, three times a day.
Inside the kitchen pantry, investigators reportedly observed there was not enough food in the pantry to sustain the amount of people in the house properly.
Investigators noted in the complaint that there were no pictures of the children on the walls, no video games, no toys in the house or kids clothes or any evidence anywhere that children even lived in the home. There was allegedly no evidence that the adopted children were ever allowed out of their bedrooms or cages.
The children’s babysitter, told investigators she had been instructed by Amy to get the boys up at 8 a.m. for breakfast and then they were to lay back down in their “cages” until lunch at 11:30 a.m. After lunch they were laid back down until supper.
She allegedly told investigators regardless of bad behavior, if the boys go to their room, they are to be locked in the cage. She also spoke of several instances of physical abuse, one of which involved Amy kicking one of the children in the stomach while he was lying on the floor.
On a separate occasion, the couple allegedly took one of the children by the neck and held his head under a faucet, causing the child to nearly pass out. According to the complaint, she also told investigators she bathes the children and has noticed injuries and black and red marks on them.
The Headricks were arrested on August 24 and both were individually charged with three counts of second degree recklessly endangering safety, which if convicted both individuals may be imprisoned for no more than 10 years; four counts of neglecting a child causing emotional damage, which if convicted may result in no more than 10 years of imprisonment and two counts of false imprisonment, which if convicted may result in not more than six years in prison.
The couple appeared via video conference before Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Goodman Monday afternoon who said, “These are extremely grave charges against alleged victims who are extremely vulnerable,” prior to setting a $20,000 cash bond each.
A group of activists stood outside of the Monroe County Justice Center Monday afternoon displaying signs against child abuse and showing support for the victims. The group was visibly upset regarding the charges and allegations of abuse by the Melvina couple.
Nicki Baxter, of Wilton, who organized the group and had been a friend of the Headricks said local residents can no longer turn a “blind eye” to the issue, noting child abuse can take place even in their hometowns.
“We’re here as a cry of help for people who can’t help themselves,” she said. “We live in a disgusting world. These victims are children, so we’re speaking for them.”
A mother of eight, Baxter said the Monroe County justice system let her down by only demanding a $20,000 cash bond for the couple saying, “they’re letting out a monster.”
She called the Headricks “people of power” and implied the $20,000 would not be a challenge for the “wealthy couple” to obtain.
Baxter said it was surprising that no one caught on to the abuse sooner, pointing out someone had to see or know something. She added the Headricks painted this beautiful picture of their home and family only to find out it’s tainted with child abuse in the heart of Melvina.
“As a mother of eight, I’m disgusted. Justice needs to be done,” she said, adding residents need to be aware of their surroundings. “This affects the entire community. If you suspect something, report it.”
Another activist, Tina Martinez, of Sparta, said the justice system just failed the children involved.
“Who’s speaking for the children?” she questioned. “For some of us, it’s more emotional, being victims ourselves.”