SANTA ANA, Calif. (KTLA) — An investigation was underway on Friday in Santa Ana, where a mother of three was arrested after police found a child chained up in an apartment courtyard.
Santa Ana police officers went to an apartment complex in the 700 block of S. Lyon Street around 11:40 a.m. on Thursday to conduct a welfare check on a child.
The officers found a 10-year-old boy lying on the ground in the courtyard, according to a police news release.
The child had a long aluminum chain wrapped about four to five times around both of his ankles and secured with a padlock, police said.
The boy was wearing a collared shirt and jean shorts, with both his legs in one leg of the shorts.
The chain was removed with bolt cutters, and the officers noticed bruising and redness around both the boy’s ankles.
The boy also complained of pain in both his lower legs.
The person who contacted police said she and a friend were out walking when they noticed a boy leaning against a tree and crying, according to the news release.
When she approached the boy, she noticed a chain with a lock wrapped around both his ankles, which made it hard for him to stand and walk.
The child told the woman his mother had chained him up while she was away at work, police said. He did not have a way to contact her or find the key to the lock.
Police identified the mother as Irma Jacobo Navarro, a mother of three.
An investigation revealed that one child was at the babysitter, one was at school and the third had been chained up and left alone.
He was locked up because he would often leave home without permission while Navarro was at work and not return until after dark, police said.
Navarro was apparently having disciplinary issues with her son and did not want him getting into trouble on the streets.
Police interviewed Navarro and then took her into custody. She was booked on suspicion of willful child cruelty.
All three children were placed in protective custody by social services.