PONCA, Neb. -- A Wakefield husband and wife have pleaded not guilty to locking two of their children in a bedroom and feeding them only once a day.
Patrick Henderson, 54, and Angel Henderson, 42, both waived their right to appear in person for arraignment in Dixon County District Court and each pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony child abuse. Trial dates have not yet been scheduled.
According to court documents, Patrick and Angel Henderson locked the two children in a bedroom, allowing them to leave only to go to the bathroom. If they left their bedroom for any reason, Angel Henderson would choke, kick or hit them. The children also told authorities they were forced to sleep in pajamas that had the arms sewed to the side and the legs sewn together and wear stocking hats pulled down over faces.
Sheriff's deputies found the then-14-year-old son wearing the one-piece pajamas in the back of a vehicle on Jan. 19, 2018, after Angel Henderson had reported him missing.
Court documents said the boy said he and his then-9-year-old sister had been homeschooled for two years and were confined to a bedroom. They were fed once a day, the boy said, but were not fed if they did not finish their school work. The boy's sister described similar incidents and conditions after she and her brother were removed from the home and interviewed, court documents said.
Two other children, ages 13 and 6 at the time, also were removed from the home. There was no indication that the 13-year-old and 6-year-old had been treated similarly to their siblings.
All four children, who are adopted, are currently in Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services custody.