December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Possible confinement of children investigated in Lorain

LORAIN — Police are investigating a man and woman they say may have been locking their young children in a basement room, beating them and forcing them to sleep among trash and in their own urine.

Police were sent to a home in the 3200 block of Crehore Street about 7:30 p.m. Monday after Lorain County Children Services raised concerns about the condition of the children.

At the house, police found a 28-year-old man, his mother and his 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter in the living room. The man’s mother told police her son and her grandchildren had been staying at her house since the holidays, and that her grandchildren had been sleeping on the living room couch.

Police saw that both children had black eyes and scratches on their backs. The father told officers the children had been injured from falling on a table, getting scratched by a cat and bumping their heads together, according to the report.

Officers searched the house despite the resistance from the grandmother, who tried to keep them from looking through the basement, according to the report.

In the basement, which a police report noted was littered with animal feces, police found a door hidden behind a sheet, which led to a bedroom.

The room held a dresser and adult clothes, which led officers to believe the father was living there. Another door within the room led to a small children’s bedroom. Toys and garbage, including moldy food, covered the floor of the second room, according to the report. On the doorknob, police could see two shoelaces tied together and tied to the knob, giving support to the Lorain County Children Services’ contention that the man had been keeping the children in the room by tying the door shut.

When the children’s mother came home, she told police the toddlers had sustained black eyes from falling on a table. She started to explain the scratch marks when the children’s father intervened and said the scratches were from the cat and a table, according to the report.

The children were placed in the care of a family friend. Police told the man they will continue to investigate the possibility of child endangerment at the house.

When police conducted a background check on the man, they found he had a prior conviction for gross sexual imposition in 1999, according to the police report.

No arrests have been made in connection to the incident. An investigation is ongoing.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.