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Rockville Parents Accused Of Locking Adult Autistic Twin Sons In Filthy Basement

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Rick Ritter joined WJZ Eyewitness News in May 2014 as ...
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ROCKVILLE, Md  (WJZ) — A Maryland couple is arrested, accused of keeping their autistic 22-year-old twin sons locked in a basement room at night. Even worse, Montgomery County Police say the room had no furniture and only a tiny window for light.

Rick Ritter has the disturbing details.

Police say the father told them his sons were non-verbal and had a history of running away, so he locked them in the basement every night.

Neighbors call it the house of horror. WJZ got a first look at John Land — the Rockville father who police say is behind the cruel allegations that took place inside.

“It’s heartbreaking. We had no idea what was going on in that house,” one neighbor said.

On July 17, looking for drugs, police served a search warrant at the Land’s Crawford Drive home. Instead, they found their two 22-year-old twin sons with autism locked in a small room in the basement.

Police say their own parents, John and his wife, Janice, are to blame for the unimaginable conditions.

“When we heard that, it was like, ‘Oh my god. Why?'” said one neighbor.

Detectives say the room had an overwhelming smell of urine, no furniture or light — only a bed comforter covering the hard tile floor — and an external deadbolt holding them hostage.

“There was a nearby bathroom that was locked and not accessible to the two young men,” police said.

Police say they’ve responded to the Land’s home for several reasons over the years, but never reported any type of abuse or poor living conditions.

“Furthermore, there was a small window in the locked room that could not have served as an escape for an adult,” said police.

On Wednesday, only WJZ was there when the Rockville fire marshal investigated the house. John Land declined to comment.

While the house is now condemned, neighbors say they’re still searching for answers.

“People that really want kids and can’t have kids and it comes to this?” one neighbor said.

John and Janice Land face charges of vulnerable adult abuse and attempted false imprisonment. Both were bonded out of jail.

Family members say the brothers were cared for with love and the placement was for their own protection. They say both twins suffer from extreme mood  changes and have a history of running away.

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