The four children, aged 6 to 12, were allegedly found living in squalor, deprived of food and water


Authorities in Arizona have filed criminal charges against a Tucson couple detained Tuesday for allegedly abusing their four adopted children.

A statement from the Pima County Sheriff’s Office confirms the arrests of Benito Gutierrez, 69, and Carol Gutierrez, 64, who each face three counts of child abuse.

Neither defendant has entered a plea to the charges, and PEOPLE was unable to reach their attorneys for comment.

The children, aged 6 to 12, were allegedly found living in squalor: The statement alleges the children were deprived food and water and access to the bathroom for up to 12 hours at a time.

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Police say the four adoptees were usually locked up in separate bedrooms, which did not have any lighting.

Credit: Pima County Sheriff's Department

Investigators started looking into allegations against the Benito and Carol Gutierrez last week, after one of the children escaped through a bedroom window and made his way to a nearby dollar store.

The news release states that a worker there called 911 due to the child’s age and condition.

Police allege the children used a bucket found in one of the rooms as a toilet.

All four are now in the care of the state, having been removed from the home.

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The allegations are similar to a case in California that made national headlines in January. In that case, David Allen Turpin, 56, and his wife, Louise, 49, face charges in the alleged abuse of their kids, who range in age from 2 to 29.

The parents were arrested on Jan. 14 after their malnourished 17-year-old daughter climbed through one of the windows of their Perris, California, home, and called 911 using a disconnected cell phone she had found.

The California couple have since pleaded not guilty to torture, abuse, and false imprisonment charges.