Pennsylvania Couple in Jail for Allegedly Locking 7-Year-Old Son in Coffin

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania mother and her partner were in jail Wednesday after being accused of locking the women's 7-year-old son in a coffin.

Lori Gardner, 26, and Brian Sleboda, 31, were arraigned Tuesday evening on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful restraint and jailed in Lackawanna County Prison in lieu of $60,000 bail each, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported.

The couple is accused of locking the boy in the basement as punishment, sometimes for a whole day.

The child told officers that his stepfather often locked him in the coffin in the basement, sometimes binding it shut with duct tape as punishment.

Gardner also allegedly duct-taped the boy's arms to a chair in the dark basement, which contained a broken toilet swarming with flies and no light source except for a "Camel Exotic Blends" light.

Sleboda allegedly put a diaper on the child and locked him in the coffin by placing a chair on top of it after he returned from school Sept. 26, but the child managed to push it off and call for help. Neighbors heard the boy crying and called police.

When police arrived and found the child in the basement, he asked, "Are you here to help me?" according to the complaint.

Gardner allegedly admitted that her son was put in the basement for punishment with his arms and hands taped but claimed they were just playing a game, arrest papers said.

The couple handed themselves in Tuesday afternoon, four days after prosecutors filed charges.