Norwalk, Ohio Child-welfare workers had heard rumors that a couple kept some of their 11 adopted children in cages two years before the youngsters were removed from the home, a witness testified in a custody hearing Tuesday.
Officials tried to follow up on the rumors in 2003, but Michael and Sharen Gravelle would not cooperate, and a full investigation was never conducted, said Jo Ellen Johnson, an investigator for the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services.
The children were finally taken from the Gravelles after Johnson visited the home and examined the chicken-wire cages.
"They were piled one on top of another. It looked like a kennel," Johnson said.
The Gravelles say they built enclosures with alarms where the children could sleep for their own protection.