U.S. girl, 12, locked in a wardrobe for a year by her parents
03rd February 2010
A couple have been arrested for keeping their 12-year-old daughter locked in a wardrobe for over a year.
Alfredo Ines and his wife Leticia only allowed the girl out to attend school.
The young victim was not allowed to use the family bathroom and was given a bucket to keep in the cupboard.
Each morning she was forced to empty and clean out the bucket before being allowed to go to school.
On her return Mr Ines, 43, and his 40-year-old wife locked her away in the cramped space at their home in West Brownsville, Texas.
Police said the girl, who has not been named, had to do her homework by light that seeped under the locked door.
The girl's brothers aged 11, 15 and 17 were aware of the mistreatment but said they were too afraid to report it to authorities.
Her abuse only came to light when one of the boys reported it to school officials.
When investigators arrived at the home, they found the girl so malnourished she looked like an eight-year-old.
Investigator’s photographs show how she slept on fleece quilts on the cement floor.
By the blankets, there were pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a notebook and the white bucket.
A few sundresses still hang on a rack in the small room.
Children’s scribbles and a few little stars, bright blue and lime green, appear to have been drawn across the walls in magic markers, sporadic flares of color on grimy ivory.
But inside, investigators said the place was usually dark.
Her parents told police they were forced to keep her locked up to stop her taking food from the fridge.
'Everyone in the house knew what was going on, but you have children, who based on fear, hold this secret,' said Sgt Jimmy Manrrique, spokesman for the Brownsville Police Department.
The Ines have been charged with unlawful restraint and child abuse and held in Brownsville County jail.
The girl has been placed in foster care while her brothers are being looked after by family members.
Alfredo is only the biological father of the youngest son, investigators said.
Police have yet to discover why the girl was singled out for abuse.