A woman from Florida has been arrested after it was discovered that she forced her daughter with autism to stay in a homemade metal and wood cage.

Authorities in Florida have filed criminal charges against Melissa Ann Doss on three counts of child neglect and one count of child abuse following her arrest over the weekend. She is being held on a $20,000 bond, but it's unclear if Doss had entered pleas to the charges, reports People magazine.

According to local media reports, Palm Bay Police discovered the crime on Saturday after receiving a call from one of Doss's neighbours. The call said that there was a child inside their screened-in patio, and when officers arrived, they determined the girl lived next door.

The accused told the police that she had fallen asleep and was unaware her daughter had left, but refused to let them enter her home. However, her daughter returned to the neighbour's porch later in the day, and officers were summoned back to the scene. Doss refused to let them come inside her home once again, and said that she was "at the end of her rope."

The authorities eventually entered the house through a back door, and smelled urine and feces upon entering the building. They saw trash strewn throughout the home, as well as bugs, spiders, and flies. According to the reports, the house was so trashed that no part of the floor was visible and there was mold present. Portions of the walls were damaged and part of the roof collapsed.

The cops also noticed that there were no bathrooms, and when they asked about it, Dass told them they use "a bucket and throw the waste in the backyard." The house did not have food nor water, and was deemed "uninhabitable" by the officials.

Child protective services were also called in for investigation, during which they found out that that the woman's autistic daughter, who is non-verbal, spent nights locked in the cage. There was a blanket and a pillow in the homemade cage where she was kept. Doss told the police that her daughter would scream in the mornings until she was let out.

Social workers removed two other children from the home as well. No ages were given for any of the children.

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