A Utah mother is facing child abuse charges after she left her 12-year-old son locked in a disgusting bathroom for several days.
According to the AP, Washington County Sheriff's Office Lt. David Crouse said on Tuesday that the frightened boy’s father discovered him on Tuesday and immediately called for help.
Authorities say that when they finally walked inside the bathroom, they found feces, one blanket, and a few cans of beans that the boy had been eating since he was locked inside.
According to Crouse, the boy, who weighed just 30 pounds when police found him, is now recovering in the hospital.
As the Spectrum newspaper in St. George reports, the boy’s mother told police that her son chose to sleep in the bathroom, but she often locked him inside for safety reasons.
The woman also reportedly tried to explain to police that she had been feeding the boy protein shakes to help him gain some weight.
Police have not revealed the woman’s name to protect her son’s identity, according to the AP.
Authorities say the 36-year-old mother has since been charged with felony child abuse and is now being held in jail on a $20,000 bond.
Police say the woman's two other children have been put in custody of state child protective services while authorities try to find out if they were also abused.