Pennsylvania parents accused of locking son, 9, in closet, nailing door shut before attending party

A Pennsylvania couple is accused of barricading their 9-year-old son in a closet, nailing wooden planks in front of the door, then leaving him alone for at least an hour to attend a birthday party, reports said Wednesday.

Shawn and Tammy Jo Waulk, of Unity Township in Westmoreland County, located just outside the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child, false imprisonment and recklessly endangering the welfare of another person, KDKA reported.

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The parents allegedly used nails, screws, wood and a light cord string to keep the door closed, a criminal complaint said, according to WTAE. They secured wood slats in front of the door to prevent the boy from escaping. They then left him alone at home for about an hour and a half.

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Officers responded to the home to free the child after the Westmoreland County Children and Youth Services received a tip and alerted police, KDKA reported. The boy told investigators he had been locked in the close at least three times within recent weeks. One time he escaped and got in trouble, he said.