Child Abuse : Couple kept adopted daughter in ‘glorified cage’

January 11, 2016 4:00 pm

 

Eugenio Erquiaga and Victoria Erquiaga have been accused of . Photo / Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

A husband and wife in Sarasota, Florida, have been accused of child
abuse after they allegedly told authorities that they routinely tied up
and locked their 12-year-old daughter inside a playhouse.
In an affidavit cited by CBS-affiliate WTSP, the 1.5m by 2m playhouse was described by a detective as a “glorified cage”.
“She
wasn’t allowed to leave the playhouse to use the restroom,” Sheriff’s
Lieutenant Joe Giasone told WTSP. “She’d have to do all that inside.”
Police
allege that Eugenio Erquiaga, a doctor, and his wife, Victoria, a
lawyer, used zip ties to restrain the girl’s ankles and wrists before
locking her inside the cramped enclosure for hours on end, according to
WTSP.
The playhouse could be barred shut with a piece of wood,
had most of its windows screwed shut and smelled of urine, according to
CBS-affiliate WINK.

Police said the couple – who were arrested on Wednesday – told
investigators that their daughter was prone to violent outbursts and
the restraints were used to protect the family’s six other children,
according to WTSP. Police said the couple came up with the method of
restraint recently, after seeing zip ties used in a television show
featuring police.
The pair is facing aggravated child abuse charges
The couple’s attorney, Derek Byrd, urged the public to withhold judgment about the parenting style.
“I’m
certain any people in the public would say that’s not the way they
would handle it, and they’re entitled to their opinion,” he told WTSP.
“The question is, is it criminal to handle a problematic child that
way?”
The alleged abuse may have escaped authorities’ attention
if the victim hadn’t fled her family’s house, finding her way to a
neighbour’s home.
Sean Macindoe, the 19-year-old neighbour, told WTSP the girl said: “My parents abandoned me. I was left and ran away.”
The
12-year-old girl, who was adopted, was part of a large group of
biological and adopted children in the Erquiaga household, according to
CBS . In addition to two other adopted children, the family also
includes four biological children from 5 to 13 years old.
The
couple’s other children are in custody of the Florida Department of
Children and Families, but police said none of them have reported abuse
or neglect to authorities, CBS reported.

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