Two parents are in jail, accused of locking their children in the basement. And it might have all started because of candy.
Their mother, Connie Campos, 32, and stepfather Javier Campos, 40, are behind bars after allegedly locking their four children (all under the age of 15) in the basement whenever they would go out or to sleep; depriving them of food, water, and a bathroom. Their parents allegedly started locking them in the basement after their 13-year-old son stole candy.
Connie Campos Arrested for Alleged Abuse and Neglect
A horrific situation is unfolding in Anderson, Indiana. The parents of four children, Connie Campos and her husband Javier Campos, have been arrested and face charges of felony neglect against a dependent. Javier has also been charged with two counts of felony child molesting.
Police allege that the parents regularly locked their children in the basement without access to water or food, and were only given a bottle and bucket for a toilet.
Both parents were arraigned before Magistrate Judge Stephen Clase, and entered a plea of not guilty. The couple is being held at the Madison County Jail; Connie Campos on a $10,000 bond, while her husband’s bond was set at $70,000.
Connie Campos said she is sorry for what happened, and places all the blame squarely on her husband, adding that it was his idea. Even then, she said the lockdowns were not as bad as they seemed.
“They told investigators they were frequently locked in the basement for discipline. I don’t believe it was discipline. It may have a couple of hours at a time and I wasn’t doing it to be mean. I wasn’t thinking of it that way,” she said.
“I locked my kids in the basement. I did not do it to hurt them but I was trying to do it because I did not want them to make a big mess when I was gone,” said Connie.
Regardless, investigators believe both Connie and Javier Campos are responsible for the abuse their children suffered.
“It was his idea to initially start locking them in the basement and I did not think nothing wrong with it really but I should not have gone along with [it] so easy,” said Campos.
As for not knowing the state of the basement, and what their children were faced with every single night they were locked down there, Campos recalled, “I did not like the basement. I did not go down there very much.”
Police Began Investigating the Couple in November 2017
The Department of Child Services first began investigating stepfather Javier Campos of neglect in 2016, after a 13-year-old boy was removed from the home, and placed in foster care.
Their investigation went cold after the couple moved out of their home in the 1200 block of Third Street in Anderson, and could not be located.
Javier Campos gave police the wrong birth date, which made it difficult to find him. The couple apparently moved to Kokomo, 50 miles north west of Anderson. The Campos’ were back on the radar on the morning of November 5, 2017, when their 13-year-old son ran away. Police later located him in nearby Chesterfield at the Travel Inn.
One month later, three of the children were interviewed. They told investigators that they were locked in the basement as discipline. One of the children, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, was locked in her room with a padlock.
In April, the boy who was in foster care told investigators that Javier Campos allegedly forced him to perform sexual acts in the same basement. Javier, meanwhile, has denied the allegations.
“No, I never did,” he said.
Connie Campos maintains that she was not at home when any of the alleged sexual abuse took place.
Sitting behind bars charged with child neglect, Connie opined, “I do not want to believe it but I have to believe my kids. My kids have to come first.”
Javier Campos Has a Violent Past
This is not the first time Javier Campos has been in trouble with police. He was arrested for neglect in 2013, and was previously deported. Deputies are in contact with U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement.
Connie Campos is now trying to figure out what to do next. Dating, for one, is not on the horizon.
“I am done with guys. I have done that for too long. I tried to, wanted the relationship to work so bad, I just maybe overlooked things or not noticed things because I wanted the relationship to work,” she mused.
As for her children, “I’m sorry. I love you guys,” Connie said.
At this time, the children are reportedly staying with a family member as the Campos couple remains at the Madison County Jail.