Mother sentenced to three years for imprisoning child in dog cage

Derek Mayle, 30, and Lillian Cottrell, 29, of Canton, Ohio. [Image credit: Stark County Sheriff]

Lillian Cottrell, 29, was indicted in September 2020 after a year long investigation into child abuse related to her 7-year-old daughter who weighed merely 28 pounds when she was removed from the home.  Other children were removed from the home at the same time, but they did not exhibit signs that they had been subjected to the same treatment.


Cottrell and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Derek Mayle were scheduled to go to trial in December, but COVID caused further delays.


On Monday, January 11, Cottrell appeared in court where she pleaded guilty to child endangerment.  Mayle's trial is scheduled to begin, pending further delays, in March.


The Canton Repository reported that Cottrell rolled her eyes and grinned while she was sentenced to three years in prison, the maximum possible for the charge of child endangerment.


Judge Frank Forchione told her, "You have dishonored the word 'mother,'" and called her treatment of her daughter "disgusting."


"You think putting a 7-year-old in a cage is a good discipline. You're going to find out very shortly it's not much fun because I'm going to give you the same. I'm going to lock you up in a cage and we'll see how you like it. A 7-year-old child is just a crown jewel of life. They're not to be treated like some kind of animal — this is sickening," Forchione stated.


The girl is now in the custody of family friends who intend to adopt her.


Assistant prosecuting attorney Dan Petrichini said, "We're just pleased Cottrell took responsibility and pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the maximum under the law. The little girl is doing well in her placement and is thriving."