A US woman and her boyfriend have been arrested for leaving their eight-year-old adoptive daughter locked in a cage while they went out to see a movie, police said on Tuesday.
Cindy Patriarchias, 33, and Edmond Gonzales, 37, were both charged with child negligence after the girl, who has a developmental condition, was found in the homemade wooden cage in their mobile home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The cage was about 74cm wide, 152cm long and 126cm high, and had two latches on the door and a baby crib’s mattress inside on the floor, a Las Cruces Police Department statement said.
Police were called to the couple’s home on Friday evening, after being tipped off to the girl suspected of being left home alone while the couple took Patriarchias’ three other children to see a movie at a nearly school.
Officers “found the mobile home to be dark and it appeared to be unoccupied,” the statement said.
“Nearly an hour later, Patriarchias returned home and allowed officers inside,” it said.
“While checking the home, an officer discovered a large wooden cage in the corner of a bedroom. Inside the cage was Patriarchias’ eight-year-old daughter,” it added.
The girl was taken out and given medical care.
She “did not appear to have any physical injuries as a result of the containment, but detectives learned that she suffers from microcephaly,” the statement said.
Microcephaly is a condition in which the head of the sufferer is markedly smaller than average. Patriarchias’ estranged husband had called police when he turned up at the school movie screening and the girl was not with her mother and the other siblings.
She was in the process of adopting the girl, who was taken into care, while she and her live-in boyfriend were booked into a detention center, the police statement said.