A woman and her 16-year-old male roommate were arrested after authorities said they found her 5-year-old son locked in a closet, emaciated, battered and bruised.
Desiree Gonzalez, 31, and the unidentified roommate were taken into custody Tuesday after San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies received an anonymous call saying a child was being held hostage and denied food and water. They also were told that he was being burned and beaten.
When they arrived, deputies found nine children, three adults and the boy in the closet. The boy was weak and covered with lacerations. "The first thing he asked for was a drink of water," said sheriff's spokeswoman Jodie Miller.
He was taken for treatment to Loma Linda University Children's Hospital. The other children were removed by the county Department of Children and Family Services.