Parents accused of chaining kids inside
north Charlotte home
CHARLOTTE, NC – A mother and father have been arrested after police say they chained their children around their wrists and waists inside their north Charlotte home.
Melissa Gonzalez-Guzman and Felipe Gonzalez-Guzman have been arrested and charged with 15 counts of false imprisonment and 15 counts of felony child abuse. They are in the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
“The phone call that came in anonymously to the Department of Social Services worked,” said Lt. Thomas Barry with CMPD.
According to a warrant obtained by NBC Charlotte, the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services and Youth and Family Services received an anonymous call on July 18 that four children were being chained to their beds and locked in their room by their mother and her boyfriend at a home in the 4800 block of Statesville Road.
The warrant also states that police seized several metal chains and that they found pictures in the mother’s phone, “depicting four children with linked chains around their wrist and waist. The Officer observed one picture of what appeared to be an autistic 3-year-old child chained to a chair.”
The warrant says two of the children had bruised wrists and ankles, consistent with being kept in chains.
“Anytime you hear of the details that are listed in the search warrant, it makes you pause,” said Lt. Barry. “The long-term impact of being treated that way is difficult,” he explained.
Mark Butler, a former owner of the Statesville Road home, rented the house to the Gonzalez-Guzman family six months ago.
“They’re beautiful little children,” he said. “I’m in the office and they will walk by and say, ‘Hi Mark,'” Butler recalled.
He says he had no reason to believe the children were anything other than well cared for.
“The mother seemed to be a good caretaker because she kept other people’s children, and I think she took care of elderly people,” Butler explained.
His reaction to the allegations that the parents chained the children up, “That’s horror to me, but that’s shocking, just shocking to me,” he said. “I’ve been in the home multiple times and I’ve never seen that.”
The children are now in the custody of family members, according to CMPD, and have been referred to Pat’s Place for additional services.
According to neighbors, the parents recently had another baby in June. There is no word on where that baby is located.
NBC Charlotte reached out to DSS to see if the Gonzalez-Guzmans had been investigated for child abuse in the past. We were told DSS does not release this information due to state law. NBC Charlotte has filed a Freedom of Information Request to obtain more information about this case and the parents.