PHOENIX (AP) – A couple were arrested on child abuse charges for allegedly keeping their 5-year-old twin sons locked in filthy, makeshift cages for several hours a day.

Police found the boys Saturday after their older brother told officers at a grocery store about the squalid living conditions.

When police arrived at the home they found the children inside two cribs that had been wired together and sealed by plastic crates. Roaches filled the cages, which contained a blanket and small mattress stained with feces and urine.

Louis and Etelvina Rodriguez of Phoenix were arrested on suspicion of child abuse and kidnapping.

The children, who appeared healthy, were placed in state custody.

“They were happy to see us and opened their arms wide, reaching out to be held and picked up,” Sgt. Jacqui MacConnell said.

Investigators believe the boys were released from the cages for a few hours a day when their mother returned from work.

Etelvina Rodriguez, 42, told police her husband wanted the boys locked up because he had health problems. She and her husband each were being held on $243,000 bond.

AP-ES-08-25-03 1503EDT



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