After answering a civil dispute call, a Huron County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on scene to find a 19-year-old autistic man locked in a caged bed, with chains around the opening.
A man and woman, allegedly the residents of the home, were arrested on Oct. 20 and are awaiting arraignment on charges of unlawful imprisonment and vulnerable adult abuse.
The residence in question is located in Paris Township, which is just 90 miles north of Detroit. Huron County Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson relayed the story to reporters, emphasizing the point that the “cage door was chained shut,” resembling the way an animal might be treated.
Although the names of the two arrested residents have not yet been released, Hanson said that the male resident was 66-years-old and the female resident was 65-years old. Aside from the autistic man who was rescued from the home, authorities also removed three adults and two children.
Michigan’s Department of Human Services has said that its adult protection services offices are also investigating the case. There are suspicions that the residence might have been used as an illegal care facility. Spokesman Bob Wheaton confirmed that the home is private residence and that it is not a “licensed care facility.”
Additional charges could be filed if authorities find that the couple was running an unlicensed care facility.
In the recent months there has been an alarming number of abuse charges filed against the caretakers of autistic children. Two parents were charged with child abuse and unlawful imprisonment when it was found out that their 11-year-old child was being locked in a dog kennel.
Earlier this month a 46 year-old Battle Creek, Michigan resident was sentenced to 10 years in prison after she tried to kill herself and her 15-year-old autistic teenager.
Autism can be a difficult disability to control, but resorting to imprisonment is an inhumane way of reacting to the situation and no such positive outcome will be reached.