National

Authorities charge Wisconsin

couple accused of caging kids

SPARTA, Wis. (AP) — A southwestern Wisconsin man and woman accused of keeping children in cages have been charged with reckless endangerment, child neglect and false imprisonment.

Monroe County authorities on Monday charged 46-year-old Travis Lanier Headrick and 39-year-old Amy Michelle Headrick each with nine felony counts.

Authorities arrested the couple Friday after receiving evidence that they were keeping children in makeshift cages at a home in the village of Melvina. Authorities searched the home and found the children.

Court records allege five children were in the house — four adopted and one biological — and that one child was found in a horse trough with zip ties and another was in a locked cage. According to the records, Amy Headrick told authorities the children were caged to protect themselves.

Bond for each was set at $20,000 Monday. They are scheduled to return to court Sept. 6.

Official: Fireworks, cigarettes

may have caused deadly blaze

CHICAGO (AP) — Investigators seeking the cause of Chicago’s deadliest fire in well over a decade were searching the porch area where the blaze started for evidence of fireworks, cigarettes or other smoking materials, a fire official said Monday.

Fire department spokesman Larry Langford said children had been known to have set off fireworks from the porch of the Southwest Side apartment that caught fire before dawn on Sunday, killing six children and two adults and leaving a boy and a man in “very” critical condition. People had also used the spot to smoke cigarettes, he said.

Although investigators haven’t determined what caused the fire, they don’t think it was deliberately set and they have ruled out any problems with the building’s electrical wiring, Langford said. He also it quickly became clear that the lack of any working smoke detectors turned the fire deadly.

“Because of where it started, (on the rear porch of a rear building), if they had at least one smoke detector, they would have woken up and walked out the front door,” Langford said. “They could have grabbed everyone and made it out a stairway and outside (because) they had a clear shot at the front door.”

Investigators believe some of the kids who were killed in the fire were at the home for a sleepover, he said.

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