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DOUGLAS, Ga. — Police said a mother and her girlfriend locked her son in a dog cage and poured syrup and cat litter over him.

Douglas County Police Chief Chris Womack says the boy was left in the cage in the couple's yard for hours Saturday night.

Crystal Jean Hostetter, 24, and Sarah Elizabeth McClain, 30, are charged with cruelty to children and reckless conduct.

Womack says the two locked Hostetter's 6-year-old son in a dog cage, poured syrup over him, covered him in cat litter and made him hold a brick in each hand over his head.

Womacki says the couple admitted the acts and told officers it was a form of discipline.

A neighbor who was watching TV around 7 p.m. Saturday said she heard the boy crying and screaming "please don't kill me" and "I thought you loved me." She went out to her back porch and saw the women pour syrup and cat litter on the boy, and then put him into the cage.

She tried to call the Division of Family and Children's Services but didn't get an answer. Since her daughter was a classmate of the boy, on Monday she told the school counselor who then contacted DFCS and police.

Hostetter and McClain were arrested Tuesday and are currently in the Douglas County jail without bond.

Douglas Police Sgt. Todd Garner interviewed the boy afterward and said he was in good physical condition, but was mentally abused.

Garner says the boy was more concerned about his mom and asked police to help her.

Womack says the women are new to the area after moving from Pennsylvania. He says investigators are looking to see if there are any prior reports of abuse, and DFCS is investigating. Neither woman had jobs.

The boy is currently in foster care.

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