EDMOND, Okla — Edmond police said a family could face criminal charges after a man was found chained up inside their home Wednesday night.
The family told police they had lost the key at their residence in the 900 block of Swan Lake Ct.
Police say the man is at an area hospital, although he did not have any signs of physical abuse.
Officers have given him rides home before after neighbors called to complain about him being near their property.
But a woman claiming to be his mother told News Channel 4 they didn’t do anything wrong when her other son chained up his brother for nearly three weeks.
“Somebody could have shot him. Somebody could have come out and done something to him, you know, and that’s what we were trying to prevent,” the man’s mother said.
She said the family was trying to protect her 41-year-old son, who has down syndrome, and would often leave the house unexpectedly to go through neighbor’s trash cans.
She does not believe that keeping a cable chain around his ankle, just to keep him inside, was cruel.
“If it saves his life, I’m going to do it,” she said. “I’m going to do it.”
Neighbors made the discovery after returning the family’s dog that had escaped and felt compelled to call 911.
“The boy is now chained to something in their house and can’t get loose,” one caller told police.
“The chain on his leg is too tight,” another caller said.
“He wasn’t contained just to a small area,” Edmond Officer James Hamm said. “He could move throughout the home but obviously he couldn’t leave in the event of an emergency, of a fire, of a medical emergency.”
The state provides help for families with developmental issues but there’s a problem.
“We have people who have been on the waiting list for years,” DHS Spokesperson Ann Dee Lee said.
She said they’re currently helping 12,000 Oklahomans with developmental disabilities receive physical, psychological and occupational services but there are more than 6,500 people on a waiting list.
They simply don’t have the funding to help everyone.
“It’s very sad and I think, in many ways, Oklahoma has this crisis on their hands to where we really need to deal with, directly, with the waiting list and make sure we help those people,” Lee said.
If they can’t help, Lee said DHS can refer families to private service providers but not everyone can afford that option.
This man could be reunited with his family if they receive DHS training but he’ll be in temporary placement for now.
Police are interviewing the family to decide if they’ll face criminal charges.