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Ariz. 7-Year-Old Found Locked in Closet

June 10, 2003

PHOENIX (AP) _ A couple disciplined their 7-year-old son by locking him in a closet for the last six months and refusing to feed him for a week at a time, authorities said. The boy was found bruised and weighing only 36 pounds.

Melanie Loubriel, 28, and Ricardo Loubriel, 39, were being held in the Maricopa County jail on charges of abusing Isaac Loubriel, who was in state custody Monday. The couple declined comment.

Police went to the Loubriel home Sunday after Isaac’s grandmother reported that she hadn’t seen the boy in several months and that he had looked malnourished the last time she had seen him, said Detective Tony Morales.

The parents were evasive in answering questions about Isaac, Morales said.

Officers then noticed a bed pushed against a closet that was locked from the outside and heard noises inside, he said. The noises were coming from Isaac, who had been locked up since the beginning of the year.

Police are still trying to determine why Isaac was being punished, Morales said.

Four of the couple’s six children lived in the home, but only Isaac was injured. All four were placed with Child Protective Services. The couple’s two other children live with their grandmother.

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