Arizona couple Benito and Carol Gutierrez have been charged with child abuse after authorities received a 911 call reporting the horrific situation of their four adopted children in a seemingly similar case to the Turpins’ “House of Horror” in California.
According to Tucson News Now, 64-year-old Carol and her 69-year-old husband are faced with three counts of child abuse and domestic violence cases after they were arrested on February 20.
Police officers responded to a 911 call from a Family Dollar store clerk who witnessed one of the victims — a boy who was in a “disheveled condition” — come into the store and request to use their phone, ABC News reported based on a statement from the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.
After growing suspicious of the situation, the concerned store clerk called the police, who arrived at the child’s home at 4100 block along North Flowing Wells Road finding four children aged 6 to 12 years old. Authorities said the officers found signs that Benito and Carol Gutierrez have been mistreating their adopted children.
“The children were kept in separate bedrooms, which were locked from the outside,” the PCSD’s news release stated.
“(They had) no access to food, water, lights or bathroom facilities for up to 12 hours at a time on a regular basis.”
Citing the interim complaint, Tucson News Now revealed that the victims were not given any chance to clean up when they had an accident in bed, forcing them to sleep while wearing their soiled clothing. The Gutierrez couple also allegedly failed to provide proper nutrition to the victims, only allowing them one meal per day, a similar situation with California’s “House of Horror” case.
On top of that, they refused to let the children inside the house all day on weekends, based on witness accounts from the Gutierrez family’s neighbors.
“Neighbors who witnessed the children locked outside on a number of occasions would give the children food due to the children telling them they were hungry.”
Benito and Carol Gutierrez did not deny their living conditions as well as the accusations that they have been locking their adoptive children in their rooms. However, they explained that they have been living in that manner since 2011.
In a statement, the Arizona Department of Child Safety revealed that they have taken custody of the victims and explained that despite thorough monitoring and background checks, there are still instances when aspiring foster parents with questionable values like the Gutierrez couple manage to evade detection.
“Once parental rights are severed, the foster parents begin the adoption process. Once an adoption is approved by the court, DCS is no longer involved with the family,” the DCS said.
“Despite all of these safeguards, people are sometimes able to avoid detection, especially if a person has no prior criminal or child abuse history.”
The agency also assured Tucson News Now that they are doing everything in their power to bring justice to children who have been abused and neglected.
While it may not be related, Arizona couple Benito and Carol Gutierrez’s child abuse situation seemed to emit a familiar vibe with California’s “House of Horror” case, which, based on a previous report from the Inquisitr, involved David and Louise Turpin’s mistreatment of their 13 children. They have since denied the allegations against them.