PUTNAM COUNTY – A Putnam County man faces neglect charges after police say he confined his 10-year-old stepson to a room without food, water or a toilet after the boy spilled sugar in the kitchen.
Michael Shane Witt, 33, is charged with neglect of a dependent, battery causing bodily harm and domestic battery related to an incident on Saturday at his residence in Cloverdale.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Witt “did knowingly abandon or cruelly confine” the boy, “making him urinate and defecate in a bucket and not emptying it” and depriving him of “necessary food, water, or sanitary facilities.”
Witt called dispatchers at 12:31 a.m. to report that his wife was at his apartment. Witt told officers that the landlord had banned her from the residence.
Witt wanted police to take his wife and kids from the home for failing to respect his “house rules.” He told officers that he was “tired of the kids taking control” of the home and added the he can “do what he wants in his house within the law.”
He also told police that the “government knows what he’s doing” because “they tape/listen to everything.” Police said officers have been called to the residence before and noted similar behavior from Witt in the past.
When police talked to Witt’s wife April, she told them that Shane Witt poked his stepson for spilling sugar and elbowed her. According to court documents, she said, “I’m tired of what/how he does things and calls 911 to prove his point.”
Investigators noticed a “strong odor of urine and feces” coming from a back bedroom area. Inside, they found a “door closed with a rectangle cut out with an extension cord coming out of it.”
April Witt told police the door led to a play area for kids. Investigators noticed the door was locked and that the woman had a hard time opening it. Inside, the officer noticed that the stench got worse and saw a stool in the middle of the room with a circle cut out of the seat and a trash can beneath it to collect urine and feces.
The woman said the room was “just for playing games,” and when the officer said it looked like something different to him, April Witt confronted her husband.
“You see, Shane, this is why you don’t call the police. Thanks, now look at what you’ve done. They’re going to take the kids away,” she said, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Police said the woman started waking up her children in order to get them to tell the officer that the room was just for play.
The officer called the Department of Child Services to interview the 10-year-old boy.
According court documents, the boy said Witt “locks the door on them and tells them not to come out or they will be in more trouble.” He said Witt would not “let them out to use the bathroom and would have to use to the ‘bathroom’ he made for them” and left them inside for “long periods of time.”
Shane Witt told DCS officials the room was for punishment, referring to it as “lock up” and saying he didn’t make children stay inside for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Police arrested Witt, who ranted that this was “a conspiracy” and reiterated that he was being recorded.