Accomack County woman accused of keeping kids in makeshift cages released on bond

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. – A 38-year-old woman arrested in child abuse charges in July for allegedly keeping her five children in makeshift cages and filthy conditions, has been released on bond.

Malista Ness-Hopkins

Malista Ness-Hopkins was arrested July 28 and charged with five counts of child abuse/neglect. She was incarcerated at the Accomack County Jail and denied bond, but has since been released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

According to WBOC, Ness -Hopkins’ attorney told the judge that she was “overwhelmed” caring for her five children, who ranged in age from one to six-years-old.

Accomack County Social Services worker Kate Bonniwell testified that she visited the home after the agency received a complaint in July.

Bonniwell said she found two of the children caged inside cribs. Rails had been taken from other cribs and screwed on top to confine the children inside.

She said a 2-year-old child trapped in one of the cribs hissed at her and made noises she described as “animal sounds,” and once she had removed the top of the crib cage, the child made no attempt to get out.

Bonniwell says the children were all dirty and suffering from multiple bug bites.

All five children were removed from the home on July 28, the day the social workers visited.

Ness-Hopkins’ attorney told the judge there was no evidence the conditions in the home “were directly harmful to the children.”

The judge has sent the charges to the grand jury.