WA couple acquitted in 'caged children' case

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- Jurors have acquitted a Vancouver, Wash., man and woman who had been charged with unlawful imprisonment for keeping two young autistic boys in a dark room with a cage-like door.

The Clark County Superior Court jury was asked to decide whether John Eckhart and Alayna Higdon confined Eckhart's sons, then ages 5 and 7, for convenience or to keep them safe.

Jurors took only about four hours to return a verdict Tuesday.

The Columbian reports (http://is.gd/LPlRFJ ) that Eckhart collapsed in his lawyer's arms at the news and Higdon began weeping. The newspaper says the two are no longer a couple but embraced after the verdict.

One boy is in foster care and the other is with his biological mother.

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