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Parents allegedly kept autistic twin sons locked in basement

Posted at 1:33 PM, Jul 22, 2014

A Maryland couple is accused of keeping their autistic, 22-year-old twin sons locked in a basement room at night with no furniture and only a tiny window for light.

John and Janice Land are facing vulnerable adult abuse and false imprisonment charges and are free on bond, online court records show.

They couldn't be reached early Tuesday for comment. No phone number is listed for the home, and no defense attorney is listed in online court records.

Montgomery County police went to the couple's Rockville home Thursday to serve an unrelated search warrant, according to a court document. Once inside, officers allegedly saw a basement room that was locked from the outside with a dead bolt. When an officer opened the door, the twin boys were found inside.

Both parents allegedly told police their sons were non-verbal and have run away in the past. Police say John Land acknowledged he installed the deadbolt on one door and a padlock on a second door to ensure the boys did not get out of the room. Police say he told them he locks his sons in the room from about 10 p.m. to 4:45 a.m.

Police say the room contained no furniture and smelled strongly of urine. Police say the one light in the room did not function and was covered up and the one small window was not large enough for the men to fit through in an emergency.

Police say John Land told them they boys' furniture was removed recently because the boys had soiled it. The boys' mother said they intended to purchase new furniture when they could save up the money, police said.

Police did not say in a court document if John Land said how long he had been locking the boys in, but Janice Land allegedly told police the boys had been using the room as their bedroom for the past six years and the deadbolt was there when they moved in. Her husband said she was aware the twins were locked in the room, but she denied any knowledge that the men were locked in.