Maryland couple charged with locking autistic twin sons in basement

Maryland couple charged with locking autistic twin sons in basement
Booking photos provided by the Montgomery County, Md., police show John Land and his wife, Janice Land. The couple allegedly kept their autistic, twin adult sons locked up at night in their basement, which has no bathroom. (Associated Press)

A Rockville, Md., couple is accused of abuse after keeping their autistic, 22-year-old twin sons locked in their basement, according to court documents.

Court records show that 57-year-old John Land and 59-year-old Janice Land were arrested and charged Friday with two counts each of vulnerable adult abuse and attempted false imprisonment.

Montgomery County police went to the Lands' home Thursday to serve an unrelated search warrant, according to a court document. After noticing an “overwhelming smell of urine coming from the other room” and a room locked by a deadbolt from the outside, police discovered the enclosed space -- without furniture, working lights or a bathroom -- where the men were being kept.

A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County police would not comment on why police were originally searching the house.
John Land allegedly told police his sons were nonverbal and sometimes ran away. The father told investigators that the couple began locking them in from 10 p.m. to 4:45 a.m. about six years ago, according to court records posted online.


According to the court documents, the men were "totally nonverbal," communicating mainly through noises and pointing.
The room had only a single comforter and a small window -- through which neither of the men could fit in case of an emergency, according to court documents.
Police said they were told that the boys' furniture was recently removed because it was soiled. The boys' mother said they intended to buy new furniture when they could afford it, police said.
But the mother denied knowing that the men were locked in the room. "If someone locked them in the room, I didn't know about it," Janice Land told police, according to the charging documents.
The Lands are currently free on bond. They could not be reached for comment and they have no attorney listed in the court documents.

According to court documents, paramedics had taken the twins to a hospital for medical evaluation, but police would not comment on the current status of the two men.
John and Janice Land have a hearing at the Montgomery County District Court on Sept. 2.

Follow @msrikris on Twitter for the latest national news.