Chandler PD: Parents locked boy in bathroom to have 'normal life'
POSTED: Friday, October 12, 2012 - 12:15pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 12, 2012 - 12:19pm
Chandler, AZ (KPHO) — A Chandler couple could face child neglect charges after police found their 8-year-old special-needs child locked in a flooded bathroom while they went out to be "like a normal family."
Vu Quang Tran, 35, and Siobhan Grogan, 34, are suspected of abandoning their son, who has the mental capacity of an 18-month-old and was found naked and standing in 2 inches of water in the apartment bathroom by a maintenance worker, police said.
The boy's clothes were found stuffed in the toilet and water had leaked into the apartment below, where residents called the maintenance man to investigate.
Tran and Grogan were arrested Tuesday night after they went to the Chandler police station looking for their son, who was unable to communicate with officers, according to Detective Seth Tyler of the Chandler Police Department.
The boy had been taken to the station when officers were unable to locate the parents. Tran, Grogan and their daughter had been to a nearby park for nearly five hours before arriving at the station, investigators said.
The couple told police they had left their son alone on several occasions and for hours at a time. Tran and Grogan said that at first they had "tested" their son to see if he would harm himself if he were locked in the bathroom. They said they eventually would leave him locked in there "for real" so they could "have a life, too."
Tran said he believed the bathroom was the safest place for his son and denied that leaving him locked in would cause him harm. Grogan told investigators she knew it was wrong to leave the boy alone, but said they needed some time alone.
Investigators said the couple prefers locking the boy in the bathroom over public or private assistance, even though they have not utilized either for his care.
The boy is currently in the custody of Cardon Children's Hospital while arrangements are made for his care. Meanwhile, the boy's younger sister was placed in foster care.
The maintenance worker said after he received the call that water was leaking from the apartment, he knocked on the door but got no answer. He entered the apartment, found the bathroom door locked and heard running water and what sounded like a small child coming from the bathroom.
He removed the door knob and found the child standing in the water from the overflowing toilet.