Sarasota Parents Routinely Restrained Girl, 12, With Zip Ties: Deputies

Police have arrested a mother and father from Sarasota, Florida, accused of routinely restraining their 12-year-old daughter with zip ties and keeping her confined to a "playhouse" with no access to a bathroom.

Eugenio and Victoria Erquiaga turned themselves in at the Sarasota County Jail on Wednesday morning, deputies said. They were charged with aggravated child abuse and ordered held without bond.

A concerned neighbor called deputies on Dec. 27 to report a possible kidnapping after he saw the 12-year-old on his front porch with her hands zip-tied together and zip ties around her ankles, authorities said.

The girl explained that her parents would restrain her with zip ties when she got angry and would lock her in a playhouse in the home's loft area, which doubles as her bedroom.

Detectives responded to the home and found all but one of the playhouse's windows had been screwed shut. Authorities said the door had been blocked by a large piece of wood.

The wooden floor was discolored and the playhouse reeked of urine, deputies said. The girl allegedly told them she is often forced to soil herself because she cannot get out of the playhouse.

Deputies said the girl's zip ties would be secured to an eye hook located inside the playhouse to prevent her from kicking it apart.

The couple defended their actions to deputies and blamed the girl's supposed behavioral issues. The couple's seven other children confirmed to police that their sister would often be zip tied and confined.

The parents also said the girl is sometimes forced to sit on the floor to eat dinner.

The children have been taken into protective custody with the Department of Children and Families while authorities investigate.

It is not known if the couple have hired an attorney.

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