To stop his 22-year-old autistic twin sons from misbehaving, John Land told police he installed an external deadbolt and padlock on a basement bedroom with the “sole intention” of keeping the men locked away during the overnight hours, NBC4 reports. The conditions police found last week at the Rockville, Maryland, home were grim—they report the room smelled of urine, had only one small window, no electricity or furniture, and only a comforter for a bed, reports WJLA. Land told police his “totally non-verbal” sons were locked up from 10pm to almost 5am every night and if they needed something, their yells would eventually wake him up. Land, 57, says they used the bedroom for six years; his wife Janice, 59, is claiming ignorance of the arrangement, though she also lives in the house.
One neighbor says her son told her an autistic child was locked in the Lands' basement three years ago, so “we made reports to the authorities and—nobody.” Discovered by police Thursday, the twins—identified by NBC4 as Darnell and Derrick Land—were taken for a medical evaluation and the house condemned. The discovery was accidental, reports the Washington Post. At 5am, police arrived to execute an unrelated search warrant and found the twins inside the locked room. The Lands were home during the search and now they each face two counts of vulnerable adult abuse and false imprisonment. John Land's father insists the couple is "600% innocent." (In California earlier this month, parents were arrested and accused of keeping their 11-year-old autistic son locked in a cage.)