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Md. couple charged with keeping their abused 22-year-old autistic twin sons locked in a basement

Autistic twins

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(NaturalNews) The ground beneath Rockville, Maryland, must have shook as neighbors learned about the dark, inhumane conditions that 22-year-old autistic twins were forced to endure right in their own neighborhood. When police arrived at 1602 Crawford Drive in Rockville to serve an unrelated warrant, what they found inside the home shook them up inside. Two young autistic adults were allegedly locked in the basement of their parent's home, forcibly imprisoned in putrid, inhumane conditions. The family's other children apparently lived upstairs and were treated more like humans.

Officers find basement door bolted shut

As the officers searched the home regarding an undisclosed incident, they came across a basement door bolted shut from the outside. When they unlocked the door, they caught a whiff of urine and uncovered two autistic twins on the floor, unable to speak. These weren't children either. They were apparently 22 years old! The adults babbled and pointed when they wanted something. The officers called for emergency care and promptly arrested the parents.

The young adults were apparently treated worse than caged zoo animals, quartered off in a basement with no beds and no working lights. According to authorities, there was no furniture at all down there -- just a single bed comforter lying on the hard tile floor. There was only one window, and it was too small for the twins to escape. The heartless parents, John and Janice Land, appeared unremorseful when they told authorities that their children were autistic, could not speak and only communicated by pointing.

According to court documents, Janice Land said that the twins were kept in the basement bedroom for the past six years. John Land did say that he unlocked the door at 4:45 in the morning when he got up and made sure to lock them back in by 10:00 pm each night. The two parents said that if the twins needed something they would make a bunch of noise to get their attention.

The twins were supposedly kept there because they would try to leave the house. Who wouldn't blame them? The father said that they even tried to damage part of the house. Again, who wouldn't blame them?

Neighbors shocked

When neighbors were questioned, not much was known about the twins' whereabouts through the years. Some neighbors had no clue that they even existed.

One of their neighbors, Sarah Silberto, said, "I had only heard from my boyfriend's landlady that they existed. I had never seen them before, never seen them out front."

Another neighbor, Chris King, said, "I had no idea they were ever there."

A 20-year-old neighbor, Sharron Drennan, was a friend of the Lands' other children. She spoke about the conditions in the home, but nothing was ever done, even after repeated attempts to contact law enforcement.

Natalie Larson, a neighbor of the Lands who works with disabled children, was appalled at the reported conditions: "I don't know how anyone would think that's an acceptable way to keep anybody."

After police discovered the padlocked basement cell, the parents were immediately arrested and their abused twins were placed in the care of Adult Protective Services and treated at the hospital.

After making $125,000 in bond payments, John and Janice Land were released, but they now face two counts of second degree vulnerable adult abuse and two counts of unlawful intentional detention.

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