According to the Independent Florida Alligator, Dustin Huff, 35, and Yurui Xie, 31, were both employees at the University of Florida. Huff was a biological scientist in the school’s Horticultural Sciences Department and Xie was the Plant Pathology Department’s safety manager.
On Dec. 8, the couple was arrested after their 6-year-old child told a school official he didn’t want to go home because he didn’t want to be put back in his cage, WOFL reported.
Huff allegedly told detectives the boy doesn’t sleep in a cage and called the enclosure a “bed frame,” WCJB reported.
The couple showed the “bed frame” to police, who described it as a large, unsanded, wooden enclosure that looked like a makeshift cage, officials said.
The child told the Department of Children and Families that he was kept in the enclosure at night until 7 a.m., which is when he would get out and get ready for school, WCJB reported.
Xie would allegedly put him back in it when he got home from school, and then she would leave the house.
Xie told authorities she would take a break from work to meet her son and then put him in the enclosure. She said he would be inside it for a few hours before Huff arrived at home, according to WCJB.
The couple told detectives they’d been using the enclosure for a year. Xie said her son has ADHD, was disobedient and they’d been unable to secure childcare for him because of his behavior, according to authorities.
Investigators also found a second, similar enclosure in a closet in the master bedroom that was used for a second child, officials said. Both enclosures had springs and rails that could hurt the children.
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They were booked into the Alachua County Jail and are each being held on a $600,000 bond.
According to WOFL, Huff and Xie were both ordered off all University of Florida property and placed on administrative leave.
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