Girl allegedly forced to live in chicken coop - FOX Carolina 21

Girl allegedly forced to live in chicken coop

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The Butler, GA family, who neighbors told authorities pad-locked their daughter in an outdoor building without food and water, may have also done the same thing over three years ago in another county.

We went to Roberta, Georgia, the town where the family lived 3 years ago. A neighbor told us she had her suspicions about the family when one day, she says, the girl walked over to her house, knocked on the door and said, "Please help me. I haven't eaten in three days."

The woman said she began to cook for the girl, but was interrupted, when Diana Franklin, the girl's mother, grabbed the girl and according to the neighbor yelled, "You can't eat if you don't work."

Franklin Family Attorney, Kevin Bradley, denies any wrongdoing on part of the family and they look forward to getting their daughter back. The GBI continues to investigate this case.


More details in the case of a Butler, GA teen who was taken from her family after reports she was staying in a chicken coop. 

The original investigation report said when the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) came to the Franklin residence, Diana Franklin, the mother, would not cooperate with them.  

Department officials went to the scene because of calls that the 15-year-old was "pad locked inside a building outside the residence without food and water."

Under the section for weapons on the report, hands/fists were listed.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate the case right now they are looking into the initial and follow-up interviews with people" with direct knowledge of the family and the situation."

The full investigation could take up to 30 days where it will then be turned over to the District Attorney, who will decide if prosecution is an option.


News Leader 9 showed up Wednesday to talk with the adoptive mother of the girl taken away by Child Services in Butler, GA. She did not want to talk, but several people who live in the area say they've been worried about the 15-year-old girl. 

One neighbor told News Leader 9 the girl was disciplined and forced to live in a small red chicken coop at the back of the house, only to be moved to a workshop building when her behavior improved.

Several neighbors and witnesses said they watched the girl performing heavy manual labor including lifting large rocks, for hours in the extreme heat. Steven Balis said, "I've seen her out working in the gardens, digging ditches in the hot sun with two or three older boys watching her. I've seen her toting rocks up the road; she looked like she was in rough shape."

David Spillers, a neighbor, said, "It was hot weather, I mean it was hot, hot. I've never known them to go to school. I don't know if they're home schooled."

One neighbor said she was told by the mother that the girl was home schooled but the girl would spend her days outside. When her parents felt she needed more work for the day, they said she was forced to go to a neighbor's house to clean and scrub the home.

"Around here everybody works, but they don't work their daughters like that," said Balis.

Discipline seemed to be the theme of the household according to witnesses. They say the girl was fed very little, and for a few weeks she was fed just bread and water for discipline.

We were also told, in a moment of the parent's anger, the girl's long blonde ringlets were cut off and she was given a boy's bowl haircut.

The girl was taken into custody by the Department of Family and Child Services. No charges have been filed, at this time, but the GBI continues to investigate the case. 

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