LANCASTER, Calif. (PIX11) -- A California couple has plead not guilty to forcing their child to live in squalid conditions, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office announced Friday.
Titus Chidi Ebubechukwu, 48, and Mary Nkiruka Ebubechukwu, 52, were charged with child abuse and false imprisonment by violence after police say the couple used a chain to lock up their 10-year-old daughter and gave her a bucket to use as a bathroom.
The father, Titus, is a teacher and the mother, Mary, is a nurse, neighbors told KTLA, adding that the family seemed normal.
The investigation on the couple began in early May after their 4-year-old son was found walking by himself several blocks away from their home, District Attorney Theodore Swanson said.
A neighbor who found the child said he seemed disoriented and was wearing shoes that were too big for him, the Antelope Valley Times reported.
When police went to the couple's home to investigate, they found their 10-year-old daughter.
“There was a bucket in the room that the girl had to use when she needed to go to the bathroom,” Swanson said.
The boy and his sister, along with two more siblings, were taken into protective custody, officials told the AV Times. The other siblings are ages 9 and 6, according to a report by KTLA.
Neighbors said the couple is from Nigeria and lived in the home for nine years. They are scheduled in court for June 9. If convicted as charged, they face a maximum of eight years and eight months in prison.