LANCASTER – A court hearing was postponed Friday for the couple arrested last week after a 3-year-old boy was found wandering the street blocks away from his Lancaster home.
The arraignment was continued to May 28 for Titus Chidi Ebubechukwu, 48, and Mary Nkiruka Ebubechukwu, 52, according to Greg Risling of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The Ebubechukwus are each charged with three felony counts of child abuse and one felony count of false imprisonment by violence, according to court records. The felony complaint names two victims and alleges that the criminal acts occurred between May 11 and May 13.
On May 13, around 10 a.m., deputies responded to the 43800 block of Countryside Drive in Lancaster after residents reported that a small child was walking alone in the middle of the street.
The couple who reported the incident told reporters that the young boy was wearing oversized shoes and appeared incoherent when asked his name.
Once deputies located the boy, concerned neighbors directed them to the child’s home at least three blocks away.
“Upon arriving to the child’s residence, deputies discovered a bedroom in the residence locked from the outside with a chain and lock. Deputies opened the locked bedroom and found a 10-year-old female,” Deputy Joshua Stamsek of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station stated in a news release following the incident.
According to Stamsek, the girl did not have access to a restroom or food, and deputies believed she was possibly locked inside the room as punishment.
Stamsek said no other people were inside the home when deputies arrived, but they were able to “locate the parents and detained them per their investigation.”
The Department of Children and Family Services was notified about the incident and the “horrible condition of the residence,” Stamsek said, and DCFS placed the 3-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl into protective custody. Two siblings who were at school during the incident – a 9-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy – were also taken into protective custody, according to Stamsek.
The Ebubechukwus were arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and booked at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station just before 6 p.m. May 13, according to LASD inmate records.
Felony charges against the couple were filed May 15. The Ebubechukwus have been jailed since their May 13 arrest, with bail for each set at $300,000.
Updated 5/29/15 [Editor’s note]: The young boy found wandering the street is actually 4 years old, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Read an update to this story here.
Previous related story: Parents arrested after 3-year-old found wandering street in Lancaster