Here’s some of the most disturbing news you’ll hear all day: A New Mexico woman and her boyfriend have been charged after police found an 8-year-old girl locked in a cage in their mobile home. Cindy Patriarchias and Edmond Gonzales had locked the child in the homemade wooden cage while they went with Patriarchias’ three children to an elementary school to watch a movie.
Patriarchias’ estranged husband learned of the girl’s fate after he came to the school and learned she had been left at home unattended. He called police, who had to wait for an hour for Patriarchias to return in order to enter the mobile home. When they did, they found what the Associated Press describes as a “large homemade wooden cage” in the corner of a bedroom with the child inside. It was about two-and-a-half feet wide and four feet tall, had two latches on the door and had a baby crib’s mattress inside.
The girl in question reportedly did not appear to be physically injured. She suffers from microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes those afflicted to have an abnormally small head. Patriarchias did not have custody of the child, but a police spokesperson tells AP that she had been trying to adopt her, though she had been unable to reach her birth mother in order to get her consent.
Police charged Patriarchias with negligently causing child abuse and Gonzales with negligently permitting child abuse. They landed $25,000 cash-only bonds.