Deputies: 9-year-old found locked in dog kennel

Two other children were found at the home, and another two at school.
The child has been released and is in DSS custody.
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 1:20 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Three people were arrested after a 9-year-old was found locked in a dog kennel in Lexington.

“It’s the most hideous thing I’ve seen in 36 years in treating a child,” said Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons. “I’ve been in law enforcement 36 years, this is right there at the top.”

Davidson County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook that just before 7 a.m. Wednesday, an anonymous source called to say that a child was locked in the kennel overnight behind a home at 160 Cress Road in Lexington.

When they arrived, they say they broke into the padlocked kennel and EMS checked out the young boy.

According to the sheriff, the boy was shivering and was unable to speak until he could be warmed up. He was placed in a patrol car until EMS arrived.

Deputies forced their way inside the home and found an adult woman (Sarah Starr) and two other children.

EMS also checked out the children, who had no obvious injuries.

The 9-year-old was taken to a children’s hospital and was released later in the day.

Deputies say the three children found at home were taken into protective custody and two others who live at the home were found at school safe.

Warrants were taken out for Jonathan and Sarah Starr for felony child abuse, misdemeanor child abuse and false imprisonment.

Deputies say Jonathan Starr is the father of the child. Sarah Starr’s aunt, Shelley Branes, is the homeowner.

Barnes was later arrested for those same charges, and was also charged with possession of a firearm by felon and maintaining a dwelling place for controlled substances charges.

Shelley Barnes
Shelley Barnes(Davidson County Sheriff's Office)

The Starrs were given $30,000 secured bonds each and Barnes was given a $60,000 secured bond. Those bonds were later raised to $100,000 each for the Starrs and $300,000 for Barnes.

Deputies say this is still an active investigation.