Pima County Sheriff's Department
A long nightmare is ending for the adopted kids of Arizona couple Benito and Carol Gutierrez. The couple was arrested on child abuse charges on Tuesday, Feb. 20, after four kids — ages 6 to 12 — were found locked up in a Tucson house without food, water, or access to a bathroom. And the children only escaped that misery because one of the boys escaped through a window of the house on Saturday, Feb. 17, and sought help.
That boy arrived a local Family Dollar store in a "disheveled condition" and asked to use the phone. The clerk at the store — perturbed by the child's age and condition — called 911 and reported the suspicious activity, according to a press release from the Pima County Sheriff's Office cited by ABC News.
Once the cops arrived at the house in the 4100 block of Tucson's North Flowing Wells Road, they discovered these siblings were being kept in inhumane conditions, as Tucson News Now reports.
"The children were kept in separate bedrooms, which were locked from the outside," the PCSD said in the press release. "[They had] no access to food, water, lights, or bathroom facilities for up to 12 hours at a time on a regular basis."
The Gutierrezes — Benito, 69, and Carol, 64 — were arrested and charged with three counts of child abuse and domestic violence each. They were each held on a $25,000 bond.
Media outlets are already drawing parallels between this couple and the Turpins. In January, Riverside County Sheriff's Department found 13 siblings held captive in the home of their parents, David and Louise Turpin of Perris, CA. The RCSD said the children were "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings." As in this latest case, the Turpin children were found when one, a 17-year-old girl, escaped through a window.
As for Benito and Carol Gutierrez, they're due in court on March 5. In the meantime, they're prohibited from making contact with any minors, the victims included.