LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The son of a New Mexico woman accused of locking an 8-year-old girl with developmental disabilities in a wooden cage said he offered to stay with the girl while the rest of the household went out to a movie, authorities said.
The boy said he was uncomfortable with leaving the girl alone because she was asleep, but the woman — Cindy Patriarchias — said the girl would be "fine because they weren't going to be out long," according to a criminal complaint.
Patriarchias and her boyfriend, Edmond Gonzales, left the girl in the cage while they took her three children to an elementary school Friday to watch the movie, Las Cruces police said.
Patriarchias' estranged husband called police when he arrived at the school and learned that the 8-year-old was still at the mobile home.
Officers later discovered a large homemade wooden cage in the corner of a bedroom with the girl inside. The cage had two latches on the door, a baby crib's mattress inside and was about 2 1/2 feet wide and 4 feet tall, police said.
Another child told police that the girl was usually placed in the cage when she misbehaved, the complaint said.
Patriarchias had been trying to adopt the girl but hadn't been able to reach the girl's birth mother to get her consent, police have said. The girl suffers from microcephaly — a condition that leaves people with an abnormally small head.
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