San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Crime Beat

US-Costa Rican father, wife arrested in bizarre child abuse case 

It could have been the setting of a horror film. Police find four young children living in a dirty home with the walls and windows covered in hooks, black plastic, mirrors and symbols painted on the walls.

But the disturbing scene — as described by the daily La Nación — was no fiction, but rather where two boys, ages 6 and 2, respectively, their 4-year-old sister, and a 3-month-old baby girl were living in the San José neighborhood of Guadalupe. The newspaper reported that authorities said there was nothing to eat in the home save flour and yeast.

The Child Welfare Office (PANI) received an anonymous tip alleging abandonment at the home, and on Tuesday officials from PANI visited the family. When the PANI officers asked to see the children, their father, a U.S.-Costa Rican man with the last names Amador Cedeño, refused to let the officers into the home. PANI filed a complaint with the San José Second Circuit Assistant Prosecutor’s Office and returned hours later with police.

Amador Cedeño and the children’s mother, identified as Salazar Marín, were both arrested and remanded to a psychiatric hospital for three months as preventive measures. Both adults showed signs of “psychiatric problems” after an examination by the Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Tatiana Vargas told The Tico Times.

The children are under the care of PANI, La Nación reported.

Vargas said that Amador was also wanted in connection to a homicide investigation. She said that Amador allegedly provided a blade to a suspect that was used to kill someone. No charges have yet been filed in this case, Vargas said.

The child abuse case is under investigation.

Contact Zach Dyer at zdyer@ticotimes.net

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