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Missouri Mom Is Jailed After Her Kids Are Found Living in a Crate in a Cave

The Short of It

Brittany Mugrauer, a 24-year-old mother from Kansas City, Missouri, was charged with two counts of felony child endangerment after Jackson County detectives discovered her two kids, alone, barefoot and unkempt, in a wooden crate in a cave.

The Lowdown

Investigators initially responded to the area with a search warrant related to a possible stolen car operation. But they found the two children, ages 4 and 6, in an 8-by-10-foot wooden shipping crate in the cave. The crate was furnished with vehicle bench seats and blankets. Reportedly, the kids themselves told the cops that they had no shoes, and should be in school but were not. The children were evaluated at Children's Mercy Hospital, bathed and given clean clothes. In a probable cause statement the kids' mom admitted to investigators that her children had been living in the cave for several days, plus acknowledged leaving them there alone.

More recently, a friend of Mugrauer's defended her, saying the allegations are a misunderstanding and that the crate, located in the back of his auto repair shop, where Mugrauer worked, is the kids' playspace. In fact, he told Kansas City's FOX 4 News that it was actually a place to keep them safe and away from the shop's machinery—and that the kids called it their "man cave."

The Upshot

Is this a case of real neglect—or free-range parenting gone wrong? Too many details in this case (No shoes? No school?) point to a sad situation where both the kids and mom could use some help. At this point, the investigation is ongoing.

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