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Maryland parents charged with locking autistic adult sons in basement

By John Clarke

ANNAPOLIS Md. (Reuters) - Police in Maryland have charged a couple with abuse after discovering their 22-year-old twin autistic sons had been locked in a dark, bare basement room for six years, according to police and court records.Police found the men in a room with no furniture or lights, one comforter on a tile floor, and a small window, and noticed an "overwhelming smell of urine coming from the room," said charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court

John Land and Janice Land, 57 and 59, from the Washington suburb of Rockville, Maryland, were arrested on Friday and later released on bond. Police made the discovery last week when they went to the residence on an unrelated search warrant and found the sons in a basement room locked with an external deadbolt, according to court records.

John Land told police his sons were "totally non-verbal" and could only communicate by pointing, court records showed. Land said he had them locked up because they tended to escape and leave the residence.

Land told investigators he had been keeping the sons in the basement room for six years, locking the deadbolt around 10 p.m. and opening it shortly before 5 a.m, according to the court records.The Lands were charged with two counts of second-degree vulnerable adult abuse and two counts of unlawful intentional detention.The two sons remain in protective custody, the Montgomery County Police Department said.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)

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