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Wakefield man sentenced to prison for child abuse

Wakefield man sentenced to prison for child abuse

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PONCA, Neb. -- A Wakefield man charged with locking two of his children in a bedroom and feeding them only once a day was sentenced Friday to four years in prison.

District Judge James Kube also ordered Patrick Henderson to serve one year of post-release supervision after he gets out of prison.

Henderson, 55, had pleaded guilty in September in Dixon County District Court to two counts of child abuse, one of them a misdemeanor and the other a felony. As part of a plea agreement, the misdemeanor count was reduced from a felony.

Henderson and his wife, Angel Henderson, were arrested Jan. 9 and charged with locking the two children in a bedroom and allowing them to leave only to go to the bathroom. If the children left their bedroom for any reason, Angel Henderson would choke, kick or hit them, court documents said. 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.

Angel Henderson, 43, initially faced the same child abuse charges as her husband, but prosecutors later amended her charges to more serious felonies that carry a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. She has pleaded not guilty. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 9.

Court documents said the boy told authorities he and his then-9-year-old sister were homeschooled 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.

Two other children, ages 13 and 6 at the time, also were removed from the home, though there was no indication they had been treated similarly to their siblings.

A judge in April placed all four children, who had been adopted by the Hendersons, in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Court records show that the Hendersons relinquished parental rights to two of the children, one of whom has since been adopted by another family.

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