On Monday, October 20th at about 4 pm, Deputy Steve Bismack of the Huron County Sheriff’s Department responded to a domestic disturbance call at a home on Minden Road. What he discovered there has shocked people across the state.
After speaking to the people involved, the deputy was given permission to enter one of the bedrooms. And it was here that he found a mentally challenged male teenager trapped in a cage with the door chained shut. The deputy described the young man as having only a single thin blanket on a raised wooden platform inside a cage with a barred door.
Bismack immediately contacted the emergency center at the Department of Human Services, who dispatched personnel to the scene to assist. It was later determined that the young man has autism.
Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson addressed the issue, saying, “When an individual is confined, I mean locked inside of a makeshift cage, that’s just not right, and I don’t know how it can be justified.” This house was also not a licensed care facility of any kind, simply a private residence, according to Bob Wheaton who is a spokesman for DHS.
Later that same evening 65-year-old Karen Tolin and 66-year-old Timothy Tolin who lived at the address were arrested. They are now charged with unlawful imprisonment, which is a felony, and abuse of a vulnerable adult, which is a misdemeanor. The very next day, a third adult who was a resident of the home was arrested.
At approximately 10 pm that evening, two adults were removed from the home and court action the following day ordered one more adult removed, police said. On Friday, October 25th, the court intervened again and ordered two children to be removed from the home by CPS.
According to court records, the incident is currently under investigation by The Huron County Sheriff’s Department and the vulnerable adult protection department of the Michigan Department of Human Services.