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Girl Locked Up, Forced To Use Bucket For Bathroom By Parents, Say Authorities

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A 10-year old girl was found by deputies locked inside a room of her own home with only a bucket to use for the bathroom, leading to the arrest of her parents.

On Thursday, Titus Chidi Ebubechukwu and Mary Nkiruka Ebubechukwu of Lancaster plead not guilty to felony charges of child abuse and false imprisonment. The charges stem from their arrest on May 13, when their 4-year old son was found wandering the streets of their neighborhood, several blocks away from their home on the 43000 block of Chaparral Drive. The neighbor who reported the boy to police told the Antelope Valley Times that the boy seemed "incoherent" when asked his name and was wearing oversized shoes.

According to a release from the district attorney's office, deputies discovered the parents were not home at the time, and later found their 10-year old daughter locked inside a room of their home. The door was locked with chains from the outside, and the girl was forced to use a bucket in the room when she needed to use the restroom. Both children were taken into protective custody, along with two siblings who were at school at the time.

Neighbors told KTLA the couple was from Nigeria and had lived in the Lancaster home for nine years. Many were shocked and heartbroken over the news, though a few came to their defense. "It's a misunderstanding, our kids play together," one neighbor told NBC 4. "They are very integral."

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The couple is due back in court on June 9, and face up to eight years and eight months in state prison if convicted.