SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. -- The parents who kept their three children locked in a room behind a homemade gate at all times and fed them through an opening in the gate pled guilty to three counts of felony child neglect in Spotsylvania County Court. A judge suspended six-year prison sentences for Scott Suggs, 28, and Brandy Kangas,36. While the couple won't serve prison time, they were put on indefinite supervised probation and can no longer have contact with their children.
The March 30 guilty pleas came about three months after an anonymous complaint brought Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, Child Victim’s Unit and Child Protective Services Investigators to the couple's Fleming Street home.
"Upon arrival, they discovered the children locked in a room that had a homemade 'gate' 24 hours a day. Detectives observed a 17-month-old male, a three-year-old female and a four-year-old female confined to the sparsely furnished room, where it appeared they remained at all times," Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Captain Jeffery Pearce wrote. "The room was in disarray and had stains to include urine and feces. The children were fed through an opening in the gate."
Investigators immediately took the children out of the room.
"The children lacked social skills," Pearce said. "[They are] fearful of any closed door."
The children were placed in the care of the Spotsylvania Department of Social Services. The children are now living with foster parents, Pearce said. Sheriff’s Office employees and Spotsylvania businesses have donated beds, bedding, clothing and other items to the children.
"This was an abhorrent situation that the children were living in and it breaks my heart to see this kind of treatment of small children," Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris said. "Saving these kids from this type of neglect is why all of us are involved in public service."
Jeanine Harper, Executive Director of Greater Richmond SCAN, said any child who is hurt by someone they loved and trusted is bound to suffer some sort of emotional damage.
"The good news is, and this is the really important part, because we know so much about what hurts children, we also equally know what helps children," she said. "Children are resilient. If we can help that child get the help they need quickly, with the right expertise, the likelihood of them being able to grow and develop into a child who will experience what we hope every child will experience really is increased dramatically."
If you would like to make a donation to children who have suffered from the harm of others, you can do so by sending it to the following address:
Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center
P.O. Box 56
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22404