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Georgia couple accused of locking elderly mother in room, blocking door

(WSBTV photo)

ATLANTA - Police say a metro Atlanta couple locked the woman's 86-year-old mother in her room and used furniture to block the door.

Katie Son and her husband are both charged with cruelty to an elderly person.

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Officers say 86-year-old Bong Le managed to escape out a front window. She was found a couple of blocks away, wrapped in a blanket and sitting under a tree. Investigators say she smelled like urine and feces.

Her daughter and son-in-law, who are now out on bond, said they were just trying to protect her from herself.

Son said "no" when asked if she locked her mother up.

Gwinnett County Police Department said officers found tables, chairs and other items stacked high against the door of the downstairs bedroom in the home.

"It looked quite unusual," Cpl. Michele Pihera said.

But Son said it was all to keep her mother safe and that when she and her husband went to work each day at a nail salon, her mother couldn't be trusted alone in the house.

"They told our officers that the reason they had stacked up the furniture was to prevent the mother from going into the kitchen to access the stove or access any kitchen utensils," Pihera said.

Deputies still have questions.

"It's very possible they were trying to prevent her from getting into the food or any kind of items to eat," Pihera said, adding that the state of the room was disturbing.

"They found human feces and what looked like human urine that looked like it had been smeared into the carpet or never even cleaned up," she said.

She said that, combined with the furniture, led to the arrests.

"You combine the lack of access to food and water and the living conditions and that's what led our detectives to take out warrants for their arrests," Pihera said.

Neighbors didn't want to talk about what happened, but said they recognized Le as the woman who didn't really have a memory and would get lost easily.

She's now in a hospital. Her daughter and son-in-law have been ordered not to go near her.

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