Testimony: Boy, 10, fed two 'caged' autistic boys

Testimony: Boy, 10, fed two 'caged' autistic boys

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A 10-year-old boy took the stand Wednesday in the trial of a couple accused of keeping two boys locked behind what prosecutors call a cage.

The boy, the son of Alayna Higdon, was living with Higdon and her boyfriend, John Eckhart, until they were arrested in April of last year.

The boy testified the two autistic boys, ages 5 and 7, were allowed out of their room for dinner, and he sometimes served them breakfast through the locked gate made from wire shelving that was stood on end.

The boy said the boys were kept behind a locked gate for much of the day and even though Eckhart was home, the 10-year-old almost always made and served breakfast to those younger boys behind that gate.

"I was usually asked to make breakfast, and I did waffles in the toaster and I gave it to them through the gate or somebody opened the gate for me," the boy said.

He said Eckhart spent most of time playing video games in his bedroom.

The boy said he couldn't remember Eckhart spanking or yelling at the boys as the prosecution contends.

A foster parent taking care of one of those autistic boys now says he banged his head a lot when he arrived. But now, with medication, that is rare, and he's learning to sit at a table and eat using a knife and fork. But he still has to wear diapers.

Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday afternoon. The defense is expected to start its case sometime Thursday. They haven't said yet whether Eckhart or Higdon will testify in their own defense.

On cross examination, the defense had the boy tell jurors how Eckhart and Higdon took all the children out for trick or treat! on Halloween and for one or two hour car rides.