A mother of three was arrested Thursday after her 10-year-old son was found with a chain locked around his ankles, crying and in pain, Santa Ana police said.
Police were called about 11:40 a.m. for a welfare check at an apartment complex in the 700 block of S. Lyon Street, where they found the boy lying on the ground in the courtyard with a long aluminum chain wrapped four to five times around his ankles with a padlock fixed to it.
"She basically left him in his underwear with the chain around his feet. She took the lock with her, but she left him food; she left him games to play with," Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
The chain had to be clipped with bolt cutters. Officers said they noticed slight bruising and redness around the child's ankles.
The boy said his mother, Irma Jacobo Navarro, had shackled him before she left him home alone and went to work.
Navarro told police she was having disciplinary problems with her son and placed him in chains while she was away because he would often leave the home without permission and not return home until after dark.
Neighbors called Navarro a good mother who works hard cleaning homes. They described her middle son as rebellious and say he's been caught breaking doors and windows in nearby apartment buildings.
Bertagna said the mother of three is worried her son will join a gang or get into trouble.
"She's trying to do the right thing, but he’s not cooperating," Bertagna said.
"He gets frustrated, cusses at her," he added. "She feels like she’s losing control of him, so this is basically a last resort."
Navarro has two other sons, one of whom was with a babysitter and another who was at school at the time, police said. All three of her children were placed into protective custody by social services.
Navarro was booked for willful cruelty to a child.
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Photo Credit: Santa Ana Police Department