A FATHER has claimed he kept his three-year-old son locked in a cage to “prevent the toddler from burning down the house.”

Police found the boy in the cage, which was filled with bugs, soiled bedding, and spoiled milk during a raid in Logan, Ohio, on Sunday.

Franklin Varney, 38, claimed he kept his son in a cage to keep him from burning down the house. He is pictured leaving court on Wednesday
ABC 6
Hocking County Sheriff’s Office

The boy, three, was found in a cage filled with bugs in a home in Logan, Ohio[/caption]

Hocking County Sheriff’s Office

The kids’ grandmother, Varney’s mother, Ella Webb, 61, was arrested at the scene as she has custody of the children[/caption]

They also found a two-year-old in the home walking around with a meth pipe, according to officials.

Franklin Varney, 38, and his girlfriend Megan Smith, 25, were arrested after fleeing from police due to a sexual assault investigation.

The kids’ grandmother, Varney’s mother, Ella Webb, 61, was arrested at the scene as she has custody of the children.

All three were charged with child endangerment.

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Following a court appearance on Wednesday, Varney defended himself, telling ABC6 the boy “was not in a cage.”

“He was in a play pin with a top on so that he couldn’t get out and grab a lighter, ma’am,” he said.

“There was no child endangering. It was just actually protecting him for his own safety because he gets a hold of lighters and he’s two years old and will catch the house on fire.”

When asked about the charges, the dad said “they’re bogus” because “it wasn’t child endangering.”


Varney, Smith, and Webb are all being held on $200,000 bond.

Varney and Smith fled from police after a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted and robbed by the couple at the home.

Police found the boy in the cage when they raided the home on Sunday due to the sexual assault investigation, according to officials.

The cage was reportedly made of a pack n play secured with zip ties.

“The bedclothes were soiled, and we were actually trying to get a sippy cup for him. It had green spoiled milk in it, and there were bugs. I care not to guess what they were inside,” Chief Deputy Caleb Moritz told ABC6.

“We saw a little girl running around with a silver object, and we took it out of her hands we found a well-used methamphetamine pipe,” said Moritz.

Cops didn’t find Varney and Smith until Monday, after chasing them on foot through the woods near the home.

The children have been placed in emergency foster care “for safe keeping,” according to the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office.

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Varney has a record of gun violence and a previous warrant for domestic violence, police said.

Smith was also wanted for failure to appear in court in Athens County for possession of heroin and tampering with evidence, according to Sheriff North.

Hocking County Sheriff’s Office

Varney and his girlfriend Megan Smith, 25, were arrested after fleeing from police due to a sexual assault investigation[/caption]

Hocking County Sheriff’s Office

Varney and Smith fled from police after a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted and robbed by the couple at the home[/caption]

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