WWYD? possible child abuse/imprisionment *update post 49* - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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???

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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#2 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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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?

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#4 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#5 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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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.)

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#6 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:50 PM
 
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Is it possible the padlocks are for the kids to lock up their rooms?
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#7 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#8 of 87 Old 03-25-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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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.

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#9 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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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
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#10 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:07 AM
 
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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.

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#11 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:08 AM
 
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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.
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#12 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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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.

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#13 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:13 AM
 
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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?

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#14 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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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.
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#15 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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I would call. For sure.

Amri- mama to Indica 12.08.06 and Kytan 04.04.10
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#16 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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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.
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#17 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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Please call.

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#18 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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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.
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#19 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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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.

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#20 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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Call the police!

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#21 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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I'm another that isn't usually in the "call CPS" camp, but I would call, absolutely. Along with everything else, it sounds like your instinct was screaming at you that something was wrong, wrong, wrong there.
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#22 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:36 AM
 
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Oh thats weird,

I'd talk to the realtor and see what she says about it. Is the man her client?? If he is, maybe she could get some info out of him about WTF is going on.
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#23 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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Please call.

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#24 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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I would call too. sooner the better.

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#25 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angie7 View Post
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.
Padlocks are much easier to install and kids can't lock themselves in. I used to have one on the outside of my bedroom door. I'm not saying that's the reasoning but it was my first thought.
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#26 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 12:48 AM
 
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I have no idea...but is it a shelter -type home perhaps? My dh and I looked at a home that was a shelter/transitional house for mentally imparied adults. It was a home...nothing institutional looking about if from the outside. It was a lovely looking home, with an inground pool, even. Yet all of the rooms had padlocks and all of the mini refridgerators had padlocks. Although, my realtor did know this and asked us not to be freaked out.

Was this your realtor's client or a ML?
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#27 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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Umm, if you were really scared and creeped out, why didn't you knock on the padlocked doors to see if anyone was in the rooms??

If I thought kids were padlocked in their rooms, I would be pounding on the door and calling 911.


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#28 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 01:44 AM
 
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Umm, if you were really scared and creeped out, why didn't you knock on the padlocked doors to see if anyone was in the rooms??

If I thought kids were padlocked in their rooms, I would be pounding on the door and calling 911.

I wouldn't be pounding on the doors... because a man who would lock his kids up may very well become violent with someone who makes a big scene inside his house.

I'm cautious like that.

I would've asked to see the rooms though.

And I would call CPS.

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#29 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 01:50 AM
 
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Ok, so you think there are children locked away in a room... but you did not immediately call the police? This is the reason many children die from abuse, no one wants to get involved.

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#30 of 87 Old 03-26-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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Please please please call right away.

When everything is added all up, something sounds wrong...really wrong.

Can you imagine...what if there really was kids locked up in those rooms, and they heard someone in the house? Dh was was in a very very very abusive home growing up, and he has told me many many times that he wished all the time that someone would have called cps on his mom, that he knew people knew something was wrong but never wanted to get involved. When a friend came over, he would be begging in his mind for them to call.

I could not go to sleep tonight without making that phone call to cps. If nothing is wrong, well then no worries.

As far as the safety of your family, I would call the relator and ask him if he did any other showings (but from the sounds of how surprised he sounded, it doesn't seem like it), take extra percautions at home and while out and about.
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