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Las Cruces Police arrest couple who allegedly left 8-year-old in wooden cage

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:02:06 PM CST
Updated On: Jul 15 2014 12:50:39 PM CDT

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Jan. 29, 2013 Update: Court documents: Family kept girl in wooden cage for her safety

Jan. 28, 2013 Story: Police have arrested a Las Cruces mother and her live-in boyfriend for allegedly leaving the woman's 8-year-old adoptive daughter home alone and locked in a wooden cage.

Cindy Patriarchias, 33, and Edmond Gonzales, 37, of the 100 block of Mohawk, were arrested Friday evening. Patriarchias is charged with one count of negligently causing child abuse while Gonzales is charged with one count of negligently permitting child abuse.

Las Cruces Police were called to the couple's mobile home shortly before 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, to check on the welfare of the young girl after Patriarchias' estranged husband called police.

He told police he believed the 8-year-old was left home alone while Patriarchias and Gonzales took the woman's three other children to watch a movie at Columbia Elementary School, according to police.

Police told ABC-7 Patriarchias and her estranged husband were in the process of adopting the 8-year-old before they split up. After the split, the young girl stayed in the custody of Patriarchias.

The first officers on the scene found the mobile home to be dark and it appeared to be unoccupied. About an hour later Patriarchias returned home and allowed officers inside where an officer discovered a large wooden cage in the corner of a bedroom with Patriarchias' 8-year-old daughter in it.

"The arriving officer who peeked in there thought he would see a pet, a dog possibly but as it turned out to be this young eight year old," said LCPD spokesman Dan Trujillo.

The officer removed the girl from the cage and carried her outside the home where she was attended to by medical personnel. Police said the girl did not appear to have any physical injuries as a result of the containment but detectives learned that she suffers from microcephaly and has the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.

The homemade wooden cage measured roughly 29 inches wide, 60 inches long and 49.5 inches tall. The cage had two latches on the door and a baby crib's mattress inside, on the floor.

"It did have vents. It was made out of wood. It was obviously homemade. It had vents along the top. She had already outgrown this, if you will. She was already too tall for it," Trujillo said.

According to police officials, detectives said that the Patriarchias insisted on leaving her daughter home alone, confined in the wooden cage, while her other three children and boyfriend attended a school-sponsored movie.

Neighbors at the Zia Shadow Mobile Home Park where this happened told ABC-7 this makes them sick to their stomachs.

"For something like this to happen is a shock. There's a special place in hell for people like this," said John Mullins, the property manager.

"There's nothing to say. That's just wrong. You can't do that to any kid, no matter if there's something wrong with them or not. They're human beings," Susan Stoehner, a neighbor, told ABC-7.

Patriarchias and Gonzales were booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center with cash-only bonds set at $25,000 each. Detectives are continuing their investigation.

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