Police: Parents kept son with autism in a dog cage - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Police: Parents kept son with autism in a dog cage

(CNN photo) (CNN photo)

Two parents in California were arrested after reports that they kept their autistic son in a dog cage.

Tracy Le and Lloyd Vu were taken from their home on Garrett Street in Anaheim, CA in handcuffs this week.

"It's only for animals, you know, I believe," said one neighbor. "I don't think there's any reason that could ever make me want to put my kid in a cage."

Neighbors said they were sad and angry after the couple was accused of keeping their oldest son, a boy police said had severe autism, in that cage.

Le and Vu have since posted bail.

"Inside that dog kennel was a mattress and some bedding," said Lt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department. "So we believe that somebody was staying in there in some capacity, not an animal, and so that's what we're looking into as well. How often was he put in there? What was the impetus for putting him in there?"

The non-verbal 11-year-old whose identity is being protected, was carried out of the home in his pajamas and put into an ambulance.

His siblings, a sister, 8, and brother, 10, were also taken from their parents and put in protective custody.

Angela Bahana, a neighbor, said she knew the family as quiet. When her mother told her about the arrests, she thought she was kidding.

"I was going to ask her if she was joking or something or playing a prank or something, because it's not the kid's fault that he has autism," she said. "It's just the parents' problem of how they try to abuse him and try to put him up in a cage. I don't think if I were the boy, I wouldn't even survive in a cage. It's just devastating."

There was no word on how long the boy was in the cage, which was seized by police. Detectives said they heard different stories from hours, to days, to years.

"There was some information that we developed very early on in the investigation from talking to people that as he has grown older, his outbursts as it relates to his autistic condition have become more violent, less able for the parents to control him," said Dunn. "So it was thought that perhaps they instituted putting him in there to help better control him during these outbursts."

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