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Virginia mom pleads guilty to locking children in makeshift cages

Malista Ness-Hopkins pled guilty to five counts of child neglect on Thursday.

(Accomack County Sheriff’s Office )

A mother in Virginia pleaded guilty this week for the keep of two of her five children in a makeshift cage.

Malista Ness-Hopkins on Thursday pleaded guilty to five counts of child neglect.

The news comes after the 39-year-old Accomack County woman was arrested in July 2017 after the social workers found two of her children live in homemade cages. The cages were cribs with what social workers said it appeared the sides of other nativity scenes and screwed on the top, USA Today reported.

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Two of Ness-Hopkins’ other children were found in a separate room to sleep on a bare mattress.

All five of the children — whose ages range from one to six years old-lived in a house filled with garbage, rotting food, and fleas, authorities said at the time.

Kate Bonniwell, a Acomack County Social Services worker, testified that it took more than 20 minutes to solve one of the lids, which need an electric screwdriver to do. She added that the two-year-old in the cage “hissed” when social workers removed the top.

“The kids do not act like normal children,” Bonniwell said, according to The Associated Press.

Bonniwell said that there is also a toilet in the house was filled with black water, while a washbasin and a bathtub were filled with rubbish and rotting food.

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Ness-Hopkins’ lawyer argued that they were the cages to the protection of the children, not punish them, as they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after her boyfriend died,” the Associated Press reported.

Ness-Hopkins, who was released on bond a few days after she was arrested, remain in bond until her sentencing in December, USA Today reported.

For the children of four are placed in a foster family, while the fifth is living with his grandmother.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

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