Authorities responding to an anonymous tip found four Nebraska children in squalid living conditions, with two of them allegedly sleeping in an animal kennel, according to police.
“All four children are in protective custody based on the overall conditions of the residence, the animal feces and urine throughout the residence, the trash and everything,’’ Lt. Rich Hoaglund of the North Platte Police Department told HLNTV.com.
Two boys, ages five and three, were discovered Monday around 11 p.m. as they slept in the metal kennel measuring about 42 inches tall and 30 inches wide, Hoaglund said.
The boys’ mother, Ashly Clark, 22, initially told officers she wanted to keep them from climbing out the windows at night, according to Hoaglund. She later said she wanted to keep the boys out of the possessions in the double-wide trailer.
The four children were in good condition and remain wards of the state until a court determines whether they go to foster homes or family members "with more adequate surroundings," he said.
The two other children, an eight-year-old girl and an infant girl, were not in the kennel, Hoaglund said.
The girls' parents, Bryson Eyten, 25, and Samantha Eyten, 24, Clark and another unrelated adult, Lacy Beyer, 20, were all living at the residence. They were arrested and held on $50,000 bond after arraignment Tuesday on charges of felony child abuse, first-degree false imprisonment and misdemeanor child abuse.
Hoaglund added that authorities found no evidence indicating the children had been physically abused or malnourished but said the four adults were arrested due to the condition of the home and the alleged "confinement of the two boys and everyone's willing participation in that confinement."
All four were in court for a hearing Thursday morning. Kerry Sides, assistant clerk at the Lincoln County Court, said they will contest the charges against them. Another hearing is set for November 11. They are being held in Lincoln County Jail.
CNN has not been able to reach Clark or the Eytens for comment.