TUCSON – Adoptive parents Benito Gutierrez, 69, and Carol Gutierrez, 64, have been arrested on charges of child abuse.
According to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a residence in the 4100 block of North Flowing Wells Road regarding suspicious activity involving a child.
Deputies said they found four children, ranging in age from six to twelve, living in the home with their adoptive parents. The children are biologically related to each other.
The oldest child was able to escape through a bedroom window and walked to a Family Dollar store in the area, where he asked to use the phone. The clerk noticed the boy's disheveled appearance. He asked the child to walk him to his parents.
They arrived at the home, where the clerk saw the broken out window from which the boy escaped. He looked inside and noticed the door was padlocked. That's when he called 9-1-1.
During PCSD's investigation, deputies discovered that all four of the children were kept in separate bedrooms which locked from the outside.
The children had no access to food, water, light or bathroom facilities for up to twelve hours at a time on a daily basis.
Deputies said one bedroom only had a bucket to use as a toilet.
Investigators said the children did attend school during the day. There was one instance of a school employee reporting that one of the children seemed to be hungry at school. But other than that, there was nothing suspicious reported by neighbors or school employees.
Benito and Carol Gutierrez appeared in video court on Wednesday. Each is facing 4 counts of child abuse of their adopted children. They each hold a $25,000 bond. They are set to appear in court on March 5 at 1:30 p.m.