Prosecutors said Tuesday they have dropped charges of abuse and false imprisonment against the parents of autistic twin men who were kept locked up at night in a basement room with no lights or furniture in their suburban Washington home.
Although the conditions were "deplorable," prosecutors did not find enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that John Land, 57, and Janice Land, 60, had criminal intent to neglect their children, said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County, Maryland, state's attorney's office.
"It is our hope that by moving forward in a non-criminal context the parents will be able to address their own basic needs while still being able to visit their children," Korionoff said in a statement.
The parents told police their sons were non-verbal and had run away in the past, so they were locked in the room from about 10 p.m. to 4:45 a.m.
John Land's attorney Maura Lynch declined to comment without her client's approval.
Janice Land's public defender didn't' return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
The Lands were charged July 17 after police, visiting the home on another matter before dawn, noticed a basement room that was locked from the outside with a deadbolt. An officer opened the door and found the twins in a nearly bare room reeking of urine. Police say the one light in the room didn't work, and the one small window was not large enough for the men to fit through if they had to escape in an emergency.