A 29-year-old mother is facing a prison sentence for the heinous crime of locking up her daughter as an extreme form of punishment and enforcing excessive discipline upon her. The mother reportedly locked up her 7-year-old girl in a dog cage that was kept in the basement of their house in Ohio. By the end of the torture that she was put through, the little girl weighed only 28 pounds, which is severely low for a child her age.
It was also reported that there were two other children in the house, however, the police believe that they were not subjected to the same cruel treatment as the 7-year-old girl suffered at the hands of her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, 30-year-old Derek Mayle.
Investigations revealed that the girl was tortured for several months between the period of January 1, 2019, and July 30, 2019, where they would keep the girl in the dog cage at times and lock it up with a padlock. The little girl’s plight finally came to light after she stayed with a relative for a couple of weeks during the summer months of 2019. As the relative was getting ready to drop the child back at her mother’s, the girl said something that hinted at her miserable condition at home.
“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,” said Assistant Prosecutor Dan Petricini.
The Stark County Child Protective Services and Canton police were informed of the girl’s situation, after which, investigations revealed that the mother and the boyfriend would “torture and cruelly abuse” the girl.
The child was put in the care of the relative who informed the authorities about her, and the other two children in the house were also removed from Lillian and Derek’s care. In January 2021, Lillian was given the maximum possible prison sentence of three years for endangering a child’s life.
While the court proceeding was going on, Lillian reportedly rolled her eyes and grinned while the judge gave her the sentence, which triggered the judge to give the mother a scolding. Describing the child abuse as “disgusting,” Judge Frank Forchione said, “You have dishonored the word ‘mother,'”
“You think putting a 7-year-old in a cage is a good discipline?” the judge added. “You’re going to find out very shortly it’s not much fun because I’m going to give you the same. I’m going to lock you up in a cage and we’ll see how you like it. A 7-year-old child is just a crown jewel of life. They’re not to be treated like some kind of animal—this is sickening.”
The judge said the crime was so “heinous” that he would give her a sentence of 10 years if he could. While Lillian faces three years in prison, her boyfriend Derek’s case is still underway. As for the little girl who will soon be adopted, Petricini added that she is “doing well in her placement and is thriving.”