Two East Texas parents were arrested for the death of their toddler along with alleged abuse of their two other young children.
25-year-old Daniel Dennis and 23-year-old Erin Dennis were arrested at their home on Tuesday after their 18-month-old child was found dead. They have two other children, a four-year-old and a two-year-old. Henderson Sheriff Botie Hillhouse called it a “horrible case and scene.”
Investigators said there was human feces on the wall and dirty diapers on the floor. The parents locked the bedroom to the children’s room from the outside to prevent them from escaping. The temperature was 103 degrees when the deputies arrived. One of the baby cribs was rigged as a “cage.”
The mother told police that she woke up to play video games and when she went to check on the children, she found the toddler dead.
“The mother basically said that they had made a make-shift cage. They had taken the crib and turned it upside down, put the mattress on the floor, had put the box springs on top of it and then they took a pet cage and surrounded the crib in case he got out he was still in a fenced area,” said Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse.
Henderson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Tony Duncan ordered an autopsy at the Dallas County Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, and as of this writing, they are still awaiting results.
“After the press release we put out on Facebook, we are seeing where some of the neighbors have commented on the thread saying that they never saw the kids outside. It leads us to believe that they were there and just kept inside that house,” said Hillhouse.
Judge Scott McKee issued arrest warrants for both Daniel and Erin Dennis with their bonds each set at $1 million. While for now they are only charged with abandoning/endangering a child, Hillhouse said he fully expects to file more charges once the autopsy is concluded.
Margie Wethington, a Murchison resident, said that it’s a dead-end dirt road and they wouldn’t expect something like this to happen.
“ It doesn’t make any sense to me. It just really doesn’t. Why could someone do these babies like this? They should cherish them,” said Wethington.