GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A former UF biological scientist accused of locking her two children in cages while going to work had her bond reduced by a judge on Wednesday. Yurui Xie, 31, along with Dustin Huff, 35, were arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. They both pleaded not guilty and are under a no-contact order.
According to arrest reports, Xie and Huff locked their children in makeshift cages while they went to work as scientists for UF. Their 6-year-old son was kept in a large wooden enclosure made of two-by-fours each night, and their 2-year-old son was kept underneath an upside-down baby crib inside a bathroom closet, with exposed metal wiring and limited airflow.
The children are currently staying with a family member through an arrangement with the Department of Children and Families and have received medical attention from pediatricians, court records show.
Xie acknowledged her wrongdoing when questioned about her actions, stating, “Yes, it is wrong.” She attributed her behavior to her husband.
Xie, who was a safety manager and research biologist, had her bond reduced from $600,000 to $50,000 by the judge. Xie’s defense attorneys argued that the wooden cage she used does not meet the legal definition of a “cage” as provided by a Florida appeals court.
Huff, who also faces charges in the case, has not attempted to reduce his bond or challenge the arrest.
The State Attorney’s Office and defense attorneys have not provided any comment regarding the case.
In summary, a former UF scientist accused of locking her children in cages has had her bond reduced. The children are currently in the care of a family member, and Xie’s defense attorneys are disputing the legal definition of “cage” in her case.