Spanish siblings kept man in cage for 20 years 'for his own good'
Emaciated, naked, soiled and imprisoned, a 59-year-old Spanish man has been freed from a tiny loft, where his siblings allegedly held him captive while they lived off his pension.
For years, the man, identified as Carlos RR, was allegedly kept locked in the tiny three-square-metre room in his family home near Seville, Spain, and made to sleep on a filthy mattress surrounded by his own excrement.
Police have arrested the man's brother, 76, and sister, 61, for the alleged imprisonment of their younger brother who suffered severe brain damage, according to local news reports.
The man's mental disabilities stemmed from an undisclosed incident when he was "very young", according to Spanish-language news oulet El Pais.
Carlos (whose surname has not been released) was a well-known fixture in the town of Dos Hermanas, neighbours told reporters.
Locals recalled seeing the friendly local walking with his peculiar gait from his home to the town square with a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth, El Pais reported.
When Carlos disappeared, neighbours who asked where he had gone were told he had been admitted to hospital.
But Carlos had not been hospitalised.
Police had not ascertained for certain how long Carlos had been imprisoned with no running water, just bottles in which to relieve himself, no clothes and a filthy mattress.
Police alleged his siblings kept him locked up while they spent his €1000 (NZ$1600) pension, which he had received since the incident that caused his brain damage many years earlier, according to El Espaniol.
Officers made the horrific discovery on 17 December after Carlos' brother was found drunk and causing a disturbance in the town centre.
The brother agreed to be escorted home by police where officers spotted a padlocked door.
When police questioned the man he told them his brother was in there, "for security reasons due to his mental problems".
Police spoke to the man's sister, who said she managed Carlos' pension and saw to his care.
But the officers were suspicious and asked to see the pair's brother.
Behind the padlocked door, they found another closed door leading to a dilapidated staircase that led to the loft.
And behind a third door at the top of the stairs, they found Carlos lying naked and covered in sores on a soiled mattress surrounded by bottles and buckets filled with faeces.
Carlos was taken to the Virgen de Valme hospital for treatment for malnutrition and infection.
Hospital staff discovered he had not been medically examined in nearly 20 years, since 1996, during which time his condition had worsened considerably.
His brother and sister were arrested on suspicion of crimes against a person, abuse in the home and illegal imprisonment, El Pais reported.
Both were charged and have been released, but have not returned to their home.
No previous allegations of mistreatment have been made against the pair, suggesting Carlos' ordeal went unnoticed.
One resident who lived on the same street as the three siblings said he had noticed Carlos' absence but had heard no distressing calls for help.
"The brother and sister were evil itself," one neighbour identified as John C told El Pais.
He said Carlos was well liked in the area, but his siblings were feared.
Neighbours avoided the two siblings, who in turn avoided their neighbours, several locals said.
- Sydney Morning Herald