A Brick woman and her partner locked an 8-year-old boy in a room, without bathroom access, leaving the child to live in “abhorrent” conditions for nearly of a year, prosecutors said Friday, marking the conviction of the pair on child endangerment charges.
Helecia Morris, 41, of Brick Township, and Donna Jung, 57, of Lehigh Acres, Fla. were found guilty Thursday of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with incidents that occurred between April 1, 2015 and January 9, 2016 in a residence on Queen Ann Road in Brick.
According to prosecutors, on Jan. 9, 2016, Brick police officers and representatives from the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency responded to a residence on Queen Ann Road in reference to a wellness check on Morris’s biological 8-year-old son. Responding officers “found the child locked in his room in abhorrent conditions,” prosecutors said in a statement. The room also “reeked of urine.”
The 8 year-old male child and two other minor children were removed from the residence. They were taken to Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township to be medically evaluated, and all three children were subsequently placed in foster care.
An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Unit and Brick police revealed that the 8-year-old male victim was “locked in his room day and night by Morris and Jung.”
“He was not allowed to use the bathroom in the residence and was excluded from socializing with the rest of the family,” the statement said. “The room contained no bed, no furniture, no lights and no toys.”
On Jan. 11, 2016, detectives executed a court-authorized search warrant on the residence, and Morris and Jung were arrested. Morris and Jung were transported to the Ocean County Jail and subsequently released on bail. After being found guilty this week following a trial, the pair were both remanded to the Ocean County Jail to await sentencing. They face ten years each in prison.