POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A Lakeland woman is facing criminal charges after investigators say she locked a little boy inside a dirty, roach-infested kitchen cabinet.
Detectives arrested Lori Hamilton, 42, on Thursday.
Hamilton frequently locked the four-year-old child inside a kitchen cabinet and secured the doors with screws, preventing him from getting out, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
One glance at the pictures of the deplorable conditions was enough to make neighbors angry.
“That’s disgusting. Like really dirty. Why would someone even want to live there?” Said Tabatha Sline, who lives a few doors down from where Hamilton lives.
The sheriff’s office is not releasing where the abuse happened or explaining the relationship between Hamilton and the boy in order to protect his identity.
Detectives say the child would be left inside the cabinet for hours at a time.
He often cried to be let out and on several occasions was forced to urinate or defecate on himself while locked inside the cabinet, authorities said.
Hamilton reportedly told investigators she did it so she could sleep at night, although her sister believes she’s innocent.
Wanda Hawthorne defended Hamilton on Friday, calling her a soft-hearted woman not capable of abuse.
“Never, not even in a corner, not in -- they’re saying closet -- nothing,” she said. “She’s not like that.”
Hawthorne believes Hamilton’s old roommate is responsible for the abuse, and their family plans to fight the charges through the end.
A judge granted Hamilton $10,000 bond. If she posts bail, she will not be allowed near the victim.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.