SWEETWATER (CBS4) — Police in Sweetwater said they discovered a “dungeon-like” room inside a trailer home Thursday where a 30-year-old man with autism was locked up by his own mother.
The man’s mother, 56-year-old Gladys Jaramillo, appeared in bond court Friday afternoon where she was held on $25,000 bond. If she bonds out, she will not be allowed contact with her special needs son.
An anonymous tip led police to 11250 Northwest Third Street around 5 p.m. Thursday.
According to an arrest affidavit, 56-year-old Gladys Jaramillo admitted she locked her son up on multiple occasions so she could go out with her boyfriend and enjoy herself. Jaramillo also told investigators she gave her son sedatives so he would sleep while she was out.
Pictures taken by investigators and shared with CBS4 News showed a bare mattress against a wall and what appeared to be traces of human waste on the floor.
Police say the room had iron bars and a dead bolt on the door. The man was left with no access to food, water or a bathroom.
“It’s very much like a dungeon. The first thing that comes to mind if you saw the room is dungeon,” Sweetwater Police Spokeswoman Michelle Hammontree said. “There was a strong smell of urine and feces. Straight from the living room, you could smell it.”
A window leading to the man’s room was blacked-out and the A/C unit was missing from the wall.
There was a lock on the outside of a back door. Police on scene said it was probably there so the man could not escape if he tried.
One neighbor says the man would sometimes run out of the house in diapers looking for food. Another neighbor said Jaramillo would leave her son for hours to go to a casino.
Other neighbors could not believe what police found.
“I don’t see nothing abnormal,” Mario Rostran said. “It’s a surprise for everybody here.”
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue had to help officers force their way in to the trailer because no one was home at the time police showed up.
Fausto Sardino, a friend of Jaramillo’s, said she is a good person. He also mentioned that he had been inside her house before and the son was not locked up.
Another friend described Jaramillo as “a hardworker, a fighter” who does her best to care for her special needs son.
Jaramillo is facing charges of aggravated abuse and neglect on a mentally disabled adult and false imprisonment.
There is an immigration hold on Jaramillo who was taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
“It’s just unthinkable to think a mother would have her child this way,” Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono said.
Jaramillo’s son was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center for evaluation.
The Department of Children and Families is investigating the issue and did say there is previous history with the family but would not elaborate. DCF also said that they will go speak to the 30-year-old man and figure out placement once he is released.