Police: Syracuse mother locked 3-year-old alone in bedroom for up to 22 hours a day

Heather A. Lacey

A Syracuse woman is accused of locking her young child alone in a bedroom for up to 22 hours a day with no access to a bathroom.

In a statement to police, Lacey's roommate says the three year old was locked in a filthy bedroom and Lacey refused his offers to help potty train him or give him human interaction. CNYCentral is not identifying the roommate who contacted Onondaga County Social Services about three weeks after moving into the apartment on East James Street. In the statement, he says he did not spend much time at the apartment but became increasingly concerned about the well being of Lacey's young son.

"When I left for work (the child) would be locked in his room from the outside and when I came home from work the door would still be locked," said the roommate in a statement. He later added that "Heather has told me in the past that she couldn't wait until he was 18 and moved out."

Police and Child Protective caseworkers say the child was found unsanitary and that the childâ??s bed, floor and walls were covered in urine and fecal matter.

When a caseworker came to the apartment on Monday night at 6:45, she was overwhelmed by the stench in the apartment. In a statement she said "I asked Heather when the last time (the child) ate something and she stated he didn't eat today." The caseworker says the child ran out of his bedroom room when it was unlocked and ate from a bag of cheese snacks.

The child was immediately removed and put into foster care. In an affidavit, another caseworker says Lacey admitted to locking the boy up for 22 hours a day.

"She admitted to letting him out once a day for a bath and one 'giganto' meal," said the caseworker in a statement.

Child Protective Services can only respond to complaints.

Mary Schapley from Onondaga County Social Services says if you suspect abuse or neglect - pick up the phone and call.

"At least make the call. We'll decide if it's going to be a report or not but at least make the call," said Schapley.

Neighbor Kim Hartranft saw the boy this summer and thought he was only 18-months-old since he was so small.

Hartranft didn't realize he was still living there and had no idea how bad the conditions really were inside.

"If I had known I would have done something. If she didn't want him - I would have taken him and taken care of him," said Hartranft.

In the court documents, a caseworker says "Heather told me she was locked in her room in filth when she was a kid." and that Lacey wasn't sure the child would want to see her again.

The caseworker said "I asked her if she loved him but she wouldn't respond to me."

Investigator Randy Andrews from the Dewitt Police Department said, "I compare it to an abused animal, that's how this child was treated. The child was locked in anywhere from 20 to 22 hours a day with very little, was never allowed out to use the bathroom, had to survive by himself, was brought out once a day for one meal, one big meal."

Lacey is charged with unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child. She was arraigned and remanded to the Justice Center in lieu of $5,00 cash bail or bond and is expected to return to Town of DeWitt Court on October 24.

Read the court documents.