Girl found locked in wooden cage; 2 arrested

LAS CRUCES, N.M.

Cindy Patriarchias, 33, and Edmond Gonzales, 37, were arrested Friday night, police said on Tuesday.

Patriarchias' estranged husband called officers to the home in the 100 block of Mohawk on Friday just before 7:30 p.m. to check on the welfare of the 8-year-old girl, who was suspected of being left home alone while the two took the woman's three other children to watch a movie at a local elementary school. When officers arrived, the mobile home was dark and appeared to be unoccupied.

About an hour later, Patriarchias returned home and allowed officers inside. They found the girl inside a large wooden cage located in the corner of a bedroom. An officer freed the girl and had medical personnel check her out.

She did not appear to have physical injuries, but detectives learned that she suffers from microcephaly, which is a condition that gives people an abnormally small head. The girl has been placed under the care of child protective services.

Investigators say the cage was about 29 inches wide, 60 inches long and 49.5 inches tall. It had two latches on the door, and there was a baby crib's mattress on the floor.

Patriarchias was charged with one count of negligently causing child abuse, and Gonzales was charged with one count of negligently permitting child abuse.

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