On Thursday, a mother and father pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and child abuse charges stemming from allegations they forced one of their children to use a bucket as a toilet while locked in a room.

Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson says the investigation began earlier this month when the couple’s 4-year-old son was found walking by himself several blocks away from the family’s home in the 43000 block of Chaparral Drive in Lancaster, California. The child was found by a neighbor who told authorities that the boy appeared disoriented and was wearing over-sized shoes. The couple was not home when Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies went to talk to them, but their 10-year-old daughter was inside the house, stated on documentation. She was found in a room that was locked with a chain from the outside, Swanson said. And soon after, authorities made a shocking discovery. “There was a bucket in the room that the girl had to use when she needed to go to the bathroom,” Swanson said.


Along with two other siblings, the boy and girl are now in protective custody.