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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mother also under arrest in child confinement case

Saturday, January 12, 2013

(Photo)
April Wilson-Witt
The estranged wife of the Cloverdale man charged with confining his stepson to a cell-like room without access to food, water or toilet facilities, finds herself in Putnam County Jail as well.

April Dawn Wilson-Witt, 31, was arrested at 1:35 p.m. Thursday for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and a probation violation.

The Putnam County Prosecutor's Office has also now filed a neglect-of-dependent charge against Wilson-Witt in a case that drew wide media attention following the Jan. 2 court appearance of her estranged husband, Michael Shane Witt, 33.

Neglect of a dependent is a Class C felony, punishable by 2-8 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Authorities allege Shane Witt became enraged after his 10-year-old stepson spilled sugar on the kitchen floor, and confined the boy to the room at the rear of their Cloverdale apartment at 202 N. Main St.

The probable cause affidavit alleges Witt "did knowingly abandon or cruelly confine" the minor child in a room without sanitation in an "act of cruel or unusual confinement that deprived (the boy) of necessary food, water and sanitary facilities."

Michael Shane Witt has been charged with neglect of a dependent, battery causing bodily injury and domestic battery as a result of a Dec. 29 incident at the residence he shares with six children and stepchildren.

April Dawn Wilson-Witt's presence and actions at the home during the police investigation that day have also resulted in a neglect-of-dependent charge against her.

Meanwhile, Putnam Superior Court Judge Denny Bridges also issued a no-contact order against Witt on behalf of his estranged wife and two stepchildren.

According to court documents, Witt himself called police to report a disturbance related to his wife's presence at the home. The landlord reportedly bars her from the site.

It was while interviewing the Witts that Cloverdale Officer Charles Hallam noticed a "strong odor of urine and feces" coming from a back bedroom area. He then observed a closed door resembling a cell with a rectangular slot cut out and an extension cord protruding from it.

After asking to open the door to what the Witts claimed was a children's play area, Hallam discovered a stool in the middle of the room with a circle cut out of the seat. Positioned crudely over a trash can fitted with a trash bag, it was being used to collect human urine and feces.

When Hallam suggested the room was devised to punish the children, Wilson-Witt lashed out at her husband.

"You see, Shane," court records say she stated, "this is why you don't call the police. They're going to take the kids away."

Hallam's report further notes, "He locks the door on them and tells them not to come out or they will be in more trouble. He further would not let them out to use the bathroom and made them use 'the bathroom' he made for them."

The 10-year-old revealed that the children often would be "left in there for long periods of time" but was not specific on how much time was involved.

The children reportedly have been placed in the custody of child protective services and taken to Clay County.

A not-guilty plea was entered on all counts for Witt with a Feb. 6 pretrial conference set as his next step in the court process. It was uncertain Friday when Wilson-Witt would make her initial appearnace in court.