Scott City couple charged with locking children out of house

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Kevin Sparks

BENTON, Mo. -- Two Scott City parents were charged Monday with child endangerment on allegations they locked their two children out of their home for several hours per day without adequate food and water.

Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said in a news release the children were allegedly locked out of their home at least 20 times since school recessed for the summer. Deputies responded to the home of Kevin and Melissa Sparks on Friday after a resident contacted authorities about the children, ages 10 and 13.

Kevin F. Sparks, 36 and Melissa L. Sparks, 40, are both charged with 10 counts of first-degree child endangerment. Melissa Sparks is also charged with two counts of child abuse. Both have posted bond and will appear in court July 7.

After investigating the incident, authorities said the children were left outside for six hours a day while their parents were at work. They were often given oatmeal up to three times a day, according to the news release. The couple started to leave a key outside the home in case the children needed it, but the children told police they didn't use it because they were scared of what would happen. Police discovered marks on the back and legs of one of the children. They're now living with a relative, Walter said.

He said he expects additional charges will be filed against the couple.

Melissa Sparks

Pertinent address:

County Road 210, Scott City, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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