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Maryland parents behind bars for locking autistic twins in basement

Twins' dad says he locked them in at night to prevent them from damaging their home or wandering away.
By Matt Bradwell   |   July 22, 2014 at 11:06 AM   |   Comments

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ROCKVILLE, Md., July 22 (UPI) -- A husband and wife in Maryland are behind bars after police discovered their 22-year-old autistic twins locked in their basement.

On Thursday, Montgomery County Police went to the Rockville home of John and Janice Land to serve a warrant for an unrelated charge. While in the home, officers discovered a basement door bolted from the outside.

Upon opening the door, police discovered 22-year-old twins Darnell and Derrick Land confined in an empty basement that reeked of urine, with no light and just a single comforter on a hard floor for a bed.

The Lands told police their sons were non-verbal autistic, and the outside lock on the basement door was installed with the "sole intention" of keeping them in the basement.

According to John Land, one of the twins had caused water damage to his home and both had a history of wandering off the property unattended. Land says he would lock the boys in the basement at 10 p.m. each night and "let them out" again each morning at 5 a.m.

Shocked neighbor Sarah Silberto had never encountered Darnell and Derrick, and only knew of the twins as a neighborhood rumor.

"I had never seen them before, never seen them out front," Silberto explained to local reporters.

"I had only heard from my boyfriend's landlady that they existed.

Another neighbor, Sharon Drennan, said that she was aware of Darnell and Derrick's living conditions, and attempted to bring attention to it three years ago.

"I reported it to the authorities, and nothing's ever been done," Drennan told NBC Washington.

"[Those] children stayed in there three years longer? That's sad. I can't believe it's come to this."
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