ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico woman and her boyfriend locked up an 8-year-old girl with developmental disabilities in a wooden cage, then left her alone while they headed out to watch a movie, police said Tuesday.
Cindy Patriarchias and Edmond Gonzales took her three children to an elementary school Friday to watch the movie, a police report said. Patriarchias’ estranged husband called police when he arrived at the school and learned that the 8-year-old girl was unattended at the mobile home.
Police waited for an hour for Patriarchias and Gonzales to return before they could enter. Officers discovered a large homemade wooden cage in the corner of a bedroom with the girl inside. The cage had two latches on the door, a baby crib’s mattress inside and was about 2 1/2 feet wide and 4 feet tall, police said in a statement.
The girl didn’t appear to have any physical injuries, police said. She was placed under the care of New Mexico’s child-protection agency.
A police spokesman said Patriarchias had been trying to adopt the girl but hadn’t been able to reach the girl’s birth mother to get her consent. The girl suffers from microcephaly — a condition that gives people an abnormally small head.
Patriarchias, 33, has been charged with negligently causing child abuse. Gonzales, 37, was charged with negligently permitting child abuse. Court records indicated that they appeared in court Monday but didn’t enter pleas.
Patriarchias and Gonzales were being held $25,000 cash-only bonds. It was unclear if they had hired attorneys.
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