Doctor and His Attorney Wife Regularly Zip-Tied Their Adopted Daughter's Hands, Police Say
A doctor and his lawyer wife are facing child abuse charges for allegedly tying up their adopted daughter and locking her in a playhouse.
Police claim Dr. Eugenio Erquiaga, 53, and his wife Victoria, 51, say they routinely put zip-ties on the 12-year-old's hands to protect her and seven other children at the home from her violent outbursts, WTSP reported.
Authorities say the couple also confined the child to a playhouse in the attic, forbidding her to go to the bathroom. The urine-soaked structure had all but one window screwed shut and a piece of wood was used to block the door, authorities said.
The girl, who has not been named, reportedly escaped the family's home in Sarasota, Florida on December 27 and ran to a neighbor's house for help.
Her 19-year-old neighbor opened the door to find a bruised child tied at the ankles and wrists, he told WTSP.
Sean Mackindoe says the girl told him: "My parents abandoned me. I was left and ran away."
After she left the home, Dr. Erquiaga reported his daughter missing and told authorities the girl was emotionally disturbed. The incident sparked an investigation.
The husband and wife, who have two other adopted children and four biological children, turned themselves in to authorities on Wednesday and are being held on $5,000 bail each for aggravated child abuse charges.
Deputies say none of the other children complained of abuse. The Department of Children and Families has custody of the other children.
The couple's attorney, Derek Byrd, says people shouldn't be quick to judge the parents.
"I'm certain any people in the public would say that's not the way they would handle it and they're entitled to their opinion. The question is, is it criminal to handle a problematic child that way?" he said.