Father charged with leaving kids in cage

POSEN, Ill. Cook County prosecutors may consider upgrading those charges to a felony. The girls were discovered Monday afternoon while the truck was parked in southwest suburban Posen.

The woman who found the girls says she had never seen anything like this. She says she was concerned about the girls so went for help. Now the children are in foster care.

The kids sat in a cage in the back of the extended cab of their father's pickup truck, with no seatbelts, and car seats placed on the floor behind makeshift fencing. The girls, ages 5 and 2, were locked into this cage while their father looked for scrap meta, according to police.

"He just felt the reason for the cage being locked up and padlocked was because he didn't want the kids to run away. And he later made a statement that the kids were out of control," said Deputy Chief Vickie Paggi, Posen Police Department.

Ricardo Gonzalez was charged with child endangerment Wednesday. He had apparently stopped at a Posen Marathon gas station when a passerby heard a girl crying then saw the girl's hands grabbing at the cage door.

"I gotta commend this witness for stepping up, looking inside to what appeared to be the kid behind the cage. Even herself saying, I have dogs. I wouldn't even let my dogs in this condition," said Paggi.

The Gonzalez family lives in nearby Midlothian Neighbors had concerns about the children's care One neighbor even called police in 2006 when the older girl was left alone.

"I just hope that now somebody can figure out what to do for them to make their life better for them," said Kim Chicoin, neighbor.

"To treat children like that, there's no reason. Most of us neighbors, we've all been here for years. I've been in this neighborhood for 38 years. And we all take care of each other. But they would never let anybody in," said Jackie Seymour, neighbor.

"They don't deserve that. They do not. I got four kids. Kids are going to be kids. They're going to play. They want to play. They don't want to be locked up. That is very sad. I would hate to see what's being done behind closed doors. They have not been out this summer, not one time," said Tracy Burns, neighbor.

The Department of Children and family Services Had investigated the family in 2006. DCFS found there was neglect in the mother's part and the department offered supportive services from 2006 to 2007.

Police said the children were hungry when they found them but appeared in good physical condition.

ABC7 is told, when police called the girls mother to inform them of the situation, the mother defended the cage as a good way to keep the kids safe while their father worked.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.