Arizona couple Benito and Carol Gutierrez were arrested on Tuesday, February 20, after their four adoptive children were found locked up in a house with no access to food, water or a bathroom.
Authorities were alerted after one of the kids escaped through a window of their Tucson home on Saturday. The boy in “disheveled condition” asked to use the phone at a local Family Dollar store, and the clerk dialed 911 to report the suspicious activity, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday.
When police arrived at the residence, they discovered four children, ages 6 to 12. The siblings were kept in separate bedrooms that were locked from the outside, ABC News reported Wednesday. Per the sheriff’s office, the victims were locked in their rooms for up to 12 hours at a time without lights. One bedroom had a bucket as a toilet.
Benito, 69, and Carol, 64, were booked on charges of child abuse. They appeared in court on Wednesday and each was held on $25,000 bond. Both are barred from any contact with minors or the victims, Tucson News reported.
The case has echoes of a story that broke last month when police discovered 13 malnourished brothers and sisters held captive in David and Louise Turpin’s home. According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s department, the children were “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.”
Officers were alerted by one of the victims, a 17-year-old female, who managed to escape through a window, and call 911 using a cell phone found inside the house.
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