LANCASTER – A Lancaster married couple pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony child abuse charges involving their two children, including a 10-year-old girl who allegedly was locked in a room with a bucket to use when she needed to go to the bathroom.
Titus Chidi Ebubechukwu, 48, and Mary Nkiruka Ebubechukwu, 52, pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of child abuse and one felony count of false imprisonment by violence, according to Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson said.
The Ebubechukwus are due back in court on June 9 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial. They could face up to eight years and eight months in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Titus and Mary Ebubechukwu were arrested May 13 after their 4-year-old son was found walking by himself several blocks away from their home, the prosecutor said. The neighbor who reported the incident told reporters that the young boy was wearing oversized shoes and appeared incoherent when asked his name.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies determined that the defendants were not home at the time, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Their 10-year-old daughter was later discovered inside the home in a room locked with a chain from the outside, and there was a bucket in the room that the girl had to use when she needed to go to the bathroom, according to Swanson.
The 4-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl were taken into protective custody, along with two siblings who were at school at the time of the incident, sheriff’s officials said.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lancaster Station.
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