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WWYD? possible child abuse/imprisionment *update post 49*

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
Honestly I don't even know what to title this. My dh and I have been looking at buying a house and were really excited to see one in particular. Well....we saw some things that were really "off" and has left my dh, our realtor and myself extremely upset. I'll try to explain this the best I can so bear with me. I really could use some input on this one.

We show up and our realtor says the owner said that his kids were there, ok, no big deal. My dh barely even gets out of the truck and this man runs out and asks my dh to move his truck b/c he is going to be leaving in a minute so my dh moves his truck. We walk in and are immediately struck with how messy this house was. Clothes everywhere, food stacked on the counters, junk everywhere. His son who was about 12 or so was sitting in the living room, he barely even acknowledged us. When he did look, I gave him a smile and he quickly turned away. The man was sitting in the living room on the computer by this time. So we start looking around and our realtor asks him if there are any rooms that we can't go in and he said "be careful going in the girls room" ok....so we proceed through this disaster of a house, in the laundry room, we couldn't even see a dryer b/c of the clothes piled up! Anyways, we head back to the bedrooms and you could obvisiouly tell this was the boys room and to our horror, there was a pad lock on the outside of the door So we kinda looked at each other like "ok that's really weird" but continued through the house. We go upstairs to see the other bedrooms and a TV is in the middle of the room blarring very loudly. Off to the sides of this room there are 2 doors on either side, both padlocked from the outside and locked! Now we are completely freaked out. We know those are the "girls" rooms b/c they are the only rooms left.

At this point, I was ready to leave. I was completely freaked out and I had such a bad feeling, it made me sick to stomach. So we finish looking at the house (very quickly I might add), the whole time all 3 of us completely weirded out at this point. As we go outside, the man follows us. My dh asks him about the property line and we all noticed he has scratches down the side of his face. They weren't razor cuts, but straight lines and a lot of them. Looked like fingernails to me. They were fresh, probably only a few days old. They were still red and scabby. So after he is done talking to my dh, he goes back up to the house, locks the door, checks the door and then leaves. He did not want us to go back into that house. As we were standing there, we also noticed that the 2 bedrooms that were padlocked, also had sheets over the windows.

I want to call the police. I just can't imagine why he has his kids padlocked in rooms. I listened to the rooms upstairs but didn't hear anything in them, but that doesn't mean anything. My kids were at my parents house (thank goodness!!) while we were at this house and I told my parents and my dad said to let it go but I don't think I can. Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. My instinct is screaming at me to do something to help these children but if I do, he is going to know it is us and for all I know, he copied our license plate numbers or something. Should I wait a few days and then call or should I just leave it alone???
post #2 of 87
That's scary. I don't think I could not call to be honest. Though the guy sounds creepy, and I certainly can understand your hesitation.

Goodness.
post #3 of 87
weren't you in your realtor's car? surely you are not the only people going through this house. i have no idea how they can be showing a house like that and get away with it for long. why don't you call CPS anonymously, tell them what you saw, and let them handle it?
post #4 of 87
Thread Starter 
We followed our realtor to the house. If I do call, I won't give them my info and I will do it from a pay phone but surely this guy will know it was us....I just don't know what to do. I have to help these kids but I'm afraid of putting my own family at risk.
post #5 of 87
I would call. Who knows why they have padlocks on them, but it's weird enough that something is off. (And the mess is enough that it makes me sound like maybe there's some sort of mental illness going on that's not being treated, and the kids could use the help.)
post #6 of 87
Is it possible the padlocks are for the kids to lock up their rooms?
post #7 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
Is it possible the padlocks are for the kids to lock up their rooms?
But wouldn't you think that a normal lock on the handle would be enough? These are the heavy duty padlocks like what you use on a fence. They have the loop and then the padlock locks it down. It is screwed into the frame of the door...I can't imagine anyone doing that just to lock up a room. Seems extreme to me.
post #8 of 87
Can your agent ask around to see if there are other showings? If so, calling won't expose you, I wouldn't think. If not, well, I would call anyway but that is me and I'm used to big cities where I would be hard to find.

On a much milder note... when we bought our current home, we noticed there were doorknobs that lock on the kids' closet doors, so I asked about them and the mum told me they were for locking the kids in the closets when they were bad. One of the doors still is a bit kicked in from the inside. It's so sad.

We'd already bought, but I have to admit I did a little cleansing/blessing ritual.
post #9 of 87
I think you need to call the police and CPS. This is too odd and you are not the one to make the final call on this. Let someone with the lgal authority look in to this. Please, please, call. 1-800-4-A-Child
post #10 of 87
I'm not usually a "call CPS" person, and I can see some other explanations for this stuff (padlocks to lock up the rooms - the girls may not have been in there - sheets as a cheaper alternative to curtains, as I know people who have done that - the mess could be a pre-move/starting to get organized mess, as I know my house is a disaster most of the time, and is never anywhere near as bad as the early stages of moving/reorganizing).

All that said...I think I'd call on this one. If the kids aren't being locked in, it should be pretty easy to determine one way or the other, and if they are, it's really serious.
post #11 of 87
My first thought would be the locks are there to keep someone out rather than in. If you have a determined thieving and/or snooping sibling (or a addict parent which would not sound out of the realm of possibility in this situation) you need a padlock, a simple lock on the door knob wont do.
post #12 of 87
Individually these things wouldn't raise an alarm for me. Like others have said, there could be explanations for the padlocks (maybe the girls and boys had a problem invading each others' privacy and started locking each other out), the sheets (DH and I used sheets as curtains in our apartment because it worked just as well as real curtains and we didn't have to buy anything new), the mess (maybe that's just how they live...), even the scratches (my brother and I accidentally hurt adults as kids when play got too rough)

But everything together? I'd at least call so something was "on record" so if it ever did come out that there was abuse going on it's written down.
post #13 of 87
If you do call CPS and there is a harmless explanation for everything, you can rest easy knowing you made the call in good faith.
If you don't call CPS, you will always wonder if the creepy guy was imprisoning his own children.
Dare I even mention Josef Fritzl?

ETA: Did you ask if you could go inside the padlocked rooms?
post #14 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I'm not usually a "call CPS" person, and I can see some other explanations for this stuff (padlocks to lock up the rooms - the girls may not have been in there - sheets as a cheaper alternative to curtains, as I know people who have done that - the mess could be a pre-move/starting to get organized mess, as I know my house is a disaster most of the time, and is never anywhere near as bad as the early stages of moving/reorganizing).

All that said...I think I'd call on this one. If the kids aren't being locked in, it should be pretty easy to determine one way or the other, and if they are, it's really serious.
This is my thought too. I don't like the whole "call CPS thing", but this one is strange. What if it really is that bad and no one is helping these kids. I wonder where the mom was.
post #15 of 87
I would call. For sure.
post #16 of 87
I would call CPS and let them determine if something is going on obviously you were alarmed at what you saw. I wouldnt be too worried about the father *finding* you, unless say you bought the house or they knew your names or what not. If their house is on the market surely more people have/will come thru there.
post #17 of 87
Please call.
post #18 of 87
Oh, call. Call now.

I can see ups and downs to a bunch of this stuff. Padlocks may seem a tad extreme, but they are the easiest locks to install. On the downside though, they are hard to get past. If the kids are being locked in, that's obviously really bad.

The house might just be messy because of moving stuff, etc., but if clothes are piled so high you can't see the dryer... hello, fire hazard. Combined with possibly locking kids in, this is a senseless and preventable tragedy, so call.
post #19 of 87
This is a HUGE fire hazzard. I am sure it's against fire code to have locks on the outside of bedroom doors that cannot be unlocked by someone inside.

I think you should call and I don't say that lightly.
post #20 of 87
Call the police!
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