An autistic boy was kept in a cage whenever he had violent outbursts, but his parents were arrested Tuesday for their treatment of the 11-year-old. California parents Tracy Trang Lee, 35, and Loi Vu, 40, outfitted a dog kennel with a mattress and other amenities for when he was locked inside.
The autistic boy who was kept in a cage but "otherwise healthy and appeared to be having his basic needs met," a police press release stated. He had no bruises on his person.
Police were initially responding to reports of alleged child abuse by Child Protective Services. When they arrived they found the cage, roughly 6 feet by 5 feet by 4 feet with a mattress inside.
"It appeared that as he grew older his episodes of violence and outbursts were increasing and perhaps the parents utilized the cage as a tool to modify that and to contain him when that was happening," Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn told the Associated Press.
"Obviously, putting your child in a locked cage, even if you're desperate for help, is not the best course of action," he added.
The boy, who was unable to communicate with authorities, was placed into protective custody by Orange County Social Services. His younger siblings, aged 8 and 10, were also placed in protective custody, though there were no signs of abuse present on them.
Lee and Vu were arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment and false imprisonment. Neither of them speak much English, so investigators are working on getting Vietnamese translators.
Police have been interviewing other family members that lived in the home and neighbors as well.
One neighbor, Bob Emerson, said he was "very shocked and surprised" at the reports of abuse.
"There was never a violent outburst from the family," he told the Orange County Register.