Parents of a severely autistic boy have been arrested by Anaheim, California police after it was learned that their 11-year-old was being kept in a cage. According to authorities, the boy was kept in a large metal cage. Likely, it was used as the parents’ method of controlling the boy’s violent outbursts, according to an ABC News report on Wednesday.
The cage located in their residence is described as being similar to an extra large-sized dog kennel. The area of the cage is reportedly 6 feet tall, 5 feet long, and 3-to-4 feet wide which allowed the boy to stand up. It had a mattress and other bedding linens inside of it when discovered. Anaheim Police Lt. Bob Dunn said that the boy was not inside the cage when authorities made the discovery. However, police were given various versions of its use by family members who assert that the boy was in the cage from hours up to days. Other than the caging of the boy, there appeared to be no other abuse, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Dunn also said that it appeared that as the boy grew older, his episodes of violence and outbursts increased. He said that it is likely that the parents used the cage as a tool to modify his behavioral outbursts and to contain him when he was having the violent outbursts. Dunn responsibly said that it is obvious that putting a child in a locked cage, even when a parent is desperate for help, is not the course of action that should be taken. He also mentioned that there are resources available for parents in such a situation.
Orange County Child Protective Services received an anonymous tip about the situation this week. Following the tipster’s notification, authorities went to the home in Anaheim on Tuesday and put the boy’s parents under arrest. The report states that the boy was well-nourished and appeared to be in good health. The boy and his two siblings – 8-years-old and 10-years-old – were unharmed and put in protective custody. Besides the parents and three children, other relatives lived in the home as well as another family with children were found renting part of the home. Formal charges are yet to be filed against the parents.