Opelousas couple arrested for keeping a child in a shed

Investigators say Larry and Antoinette Lewis forced their teenage son to live in a shed for the past few weeks with limited food and water and no air conditioning.

Detectives began interviewing the juvenile and he said he had been forced to be living in the shed behind their home for weeks.

That is when the search made it’s way to the shed itself.

“They located a couch with a pillow and a blanket. On a table in there they had some deodorant and some other hygiene things and they had a black trash bag full of clothes,” says St. Landry Parish PIO Eddie Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux says the parents then admitted why he was put in the shed.

“The father actually told him that he was going to stay in the shed as a punishment for not doing his chores and for stealing,” says Thibodeaux.

The parents used a lock to keep the juvenile out of the pantry and was forced to find other ways to eat.

“The juvenile said he was fed table scraps from his family,” says Thibodeaux.

The mother was arrested on June 27th.

Meanwhile the father was away for work and once he did return, he turned himself in.

Both are now out on bond.

This summer has seen many cases of animal cruelty in the parish but now that has reached a human level.

“We’re not telling people how to raise their kids but there are different punishments that you can do besides not letting your child sleep in the house especially in these hot summer days,” says Thibodeaux.

ORIGINAL: An Opelousas couple is in jail charged with Felony Cruelty to a Juvenile.

The investigation started in June when the sheriff’s offices received a complaint from a witness stating a 14 year old was living in a shed without air conditioning.  The teen also told the witness he would only eat scraps from his family members.

 Detectives arrived at the home and located the juvenile sitting on his front porch.  Upon speaking to the juvenile, he told detectives that he lived in the outdoor shed and hasn’t bathed or eaten for a couple of days. 

Investigators went inside the shed where the juvenile said he was living and noticed that there was a sofa set containing a pillow and blanket, a black trash bag containing clothes, and a table with deodorant and cologne on it.  The shed also had an air conditioner that did not work.

The investigation revealed that the juvenile was sent to live in the shed by the parents because he kept stealing and he would not do chores.  The parents had to put a lock on the pantry because the juvenile would also steal food.  The juvenile reportedly was living in the shed for about three weeks.  

Detectives read Mrs. Antoinette Lewis her rights and she admitted that she knew her son was told to sleep in the shed by her husband, Larry Lewis due to his behavior.   Mrs. Lewis also admitted that she had a lock on the pantry and she was the only one in possession of the key.  Mr. Larry James Lewis was working at the time and a warrant was issued for him.  July 23, 2018, Mr. Larry James Lewis was arrested upon returning from work. 

Sheriff Guidroz stated, “I would never tell parents how to raise their children but there are laws that protect their safety.  In this case the parents should have rethought the punishment and found a safer way to discipline their child.”  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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