Rockville, Maryland – Police have arrested a married couple, Janice Land, 59, and John Land, 57. for allegedly keeping their twin sons, 22, who have autism, in a dungeon-like enclosure in the basement of their home, the abc 7 News reports.
They have each been charged with two counts of vulnerable adult abuse and attempted false imprisonment.
On Thursday morning, the Montgomery County Special Investigations Division stormed the Lands’ home and discovered the locked chamber housing both boys.
According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court, police noticed an;
“overwhelming smell of urine coming from the room.”
Detectives said that there was no furniture in the room and no working electricity, nor smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.
‘A tiny window was the only means of light, far too small for the 22-year-olds to crawl through in the case of an emergency.’
John Land reportedly told investigators his sons were non-verbal and that they communicate by pointing to objects. He also added that his sons would occasionally run away from home. This was the reason, during police questioning, that he told that he and his wife began to lock their sons in a makeshift basement compartment.
They would be locked in at 10 pm each night, and the door would re-open around 4:45 a.m. the following day. The routine, Land told police, had been occurring for around six years.
Neighbor Natalie Larson said.
“I work with kids with disabilities, and the kids I work with are certainly not in basements, so that’s really upsetting.”
Neighbor Sharon Drennan also told that her son knew the family and that she contacted police multiple times as far back as three years ago.
During a phone interview, John Land’s father told ABC 7 News the Lands were “600 percent innocent.”
John and Janice Land will return to Montgomery County District Court on Sept. 2 at 8:30 a.m.