Jury seated for couple accused of locking up boys



VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A jury has been seated for the trial of a Vancouver, Wash., couple accused of locking up two young autistic boys in a dark room.

The Columbian reports (http://is.gd/e0epFe ) that opening statements are expected Monday in the Clark County Superior Court case.

Prosecutors have charged 27-year-old Alayna Higdon and 31-year-old John Eckhart with unlawful imprisonment of Eckhart’s sons between Oct. 1, 2010, and April 12, 2011.

Vancouver police say they found the boys — ages 5 and 7 — locked in a room with a metal slatted door inside the couple’s apartment. Court papers say they shared one mattress and had no toys. Police say the boys were wearing diapers and were not enrolled in school.

The children were placed in protective custody.

Defense lawyers have said they’ll dispute the police account of the room and bring in experts to testify about dealing with children with autism.


Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com