After answering a civil dispute call, 19-year-old autistic Patrick Tolin was found locked in a make-shift cage in his home. Three adults and two children were removed from the home which was not a licensed care facility. The Tolins have sheltered disabled children and adults for over a decade, including their 19-year-old son whom they adopted. When police found their son, Karen and Timothy told police that the teen “needed to be locked in the cage for his safety, as well as theirs,” according to Michigan’s Thumb News.
With sentencing scheduled for March, the Tolins pled no contest to unlawful imprisonment on January 8. The Huron County View reports that Patrick’s cage was an old fashioned metal hospital crib with just a board and one blanket inside and a bicycle lock holding the doors closed. The room was filled with the stench of urine and the teen was found completely naked and throwing feces.
The Tolins are no longer Patrick’s guardians, and parental rights have been terminated to all of their adopted children. Additionally, their guardianship for the other disabled adults living in their home has been revoked.
With this sad situation coming to light, the Department of Human Services will be focusing much attention on what can be done to prevent a similar circumstance from ever occurring again.