Case remains open for child found in cage surrounded by snakes

Scientists name newly discovered snake after Harry Potter's Salazar Slytherin
Posted at 12:22 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 13:22:20-05

HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was a recipe for disaster — a toddler and 10-foot boa constrictor.

The story national headlines, and the child abuse case still is not closed.

It all started with an animal rescue in Henry County.

Deputies found starving dogs, rabbits and a 1-year-old boy in a cage surrounded by large snakes.

That was nearly two years ago, and the suspects are still awaiting prosecution. The Henry County Sheriff's Office said COVID slowed the prosecution of the three suspects in the case, but they should have trial dates scheduled — if there are no plea deals — before the end of the year.

But the child is doing well.

This is a case no one will ever forget.

Authorities went to remove animals from deplorable conditions and ended up rescuing a small boy found living in a dog kennel surrounded by large snakes and buckets of feeder mice.

"About three feet to the left of it was a 10-foot boa constrictor," said then-sheriff Monte Belew.

That was June two years ago.

The home was filthy and a hazard.

Belew said he had never seen anything like it.

"You cannot put animals in this condition, and God forbid you can't put a child in this condition," he said.

Authorities arrested the little boy's mother, Heather Scarborough, her boyfriend, T.J. Brown, and his father, Charles Brown.

Scarborough and Brown remain locked up today, awaiting trial on a variety of charges including aggravated child abuse.

"I don't know how people are able to live in that environment," said Michael Cunningham with Animal Rescue Corps.

ARC assisted authorities, and he remembered there was so much animal waste in the home that ammonia levels had reached dangerous levels.

"A complete mess — trash on the floor, roaches everywhere, roaches all over us flies everywhere."

Authorities said the large boa constrictor was a potential threat to the little boy.

So too, were those ammonia fumes that could damage a child's lungs.

The good news — the child emerged relatively unscathed from the ordeal.

NewsChannel 5 is told he's now a healthy 3-year-old doing well in foster care.

Of course, the child was rescued from the home, and so too were more than 600 animals including dozens of dogs, rabbits and chickens.

TWRA got the snakes.

Animal Rescue Corps placed the rest including more than 500 mice.