Argentine ‘locked wife and autistic son in cage’

The filthy rubble-strewn house of Eduardo Oviedo in Argentina, where he kept his wife and autistic son locked in a cage. Picture: Getty
The filthy rubble-strewn house of Eduardo Oviedo in Argentina, where he kept his wife and autistic son locked in a cage. Picture: Getty
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An ARGENTINE man kept his troubled wife and autistic son in a filthy cage by day for at least two years, a prosecutor has confirmed.

Prosecutor Alejandro Pellegrini said police found the dirt-floor cell at the house of 66-year-old Eduardo Oviedo in the city of Mar del Plata, acting on a complaint by two of his other children.

He sometimes passed his daughter off as his wife

Manuel Ontiveros

Pellegrini said Oviedo’s 61-year-old wife has psychiatric problems and the 32-year-old is autistic.

He described the cell as a cage with bars and an iron door that was locked from the outside. Old mattresses, rubble and bricks, as well as pet food, were found inside.

“The house also had a room in the worst of human conditions where the woman and son spent the hours of the night,” locked up as well, he said.

Oviedo was arrested on Friday and brought before a judge on Saturday. He declined to make a statement. Pellegrini said he would undergo psychiatric evaluation.

He faces 15 years in prison if convicted but because of aggravating circumstances his sentence could be as much as life behind bars.

Other children of Oviedo live in the same neighbourhood but were afraid of him and remained silent. But eventually they reported him.

It is not clear exactly how many years he kept his family in these conditions. Both victims were taken to hospital on Saturday.

One of Oviedo’s daughters-in-law described him as a violent man who often made threats, a judicial source said.

“Once he came with a hatchet in his hand when we asked him to bathe his wife and disabled son,” the daughter-in-law, whose name was not given, told investigators.

Oviedo put up no resistance when police raided the house. He denies the charges.

In another case in Argentina last year it was reported that a father dubbed “Argentina’s Josef Fritzl” reportedly had five children with the daughter he locked away and repeatedly raped in his home.

The man was accused of repeatedly raping his daughter since childhood in a case that appears to chillingly echoes that of Austrian monster Fritzl.

The 53-year-old is accused of raping the woman and violently threatening their illegitimate children if they reported him.

The man is said to have claimed his daughter was his reclusive wife when questioned about their relationship. He was only arrested when the husband of another daughter contacted the police.

Manuel Ontiveros, from the city’s police sex crime unit, said: “The complainant stated the girl had no boyfriend and it was the father who had abused her and got her pregnant.

“The man sometimes passed his daughter off as his wife, when he was asked by neighbours or people outside of the family.”

It has been reported that the man had previously dodged jailed despite being arrested for abusing one of his other daughters, who then ran away.

But because it was not a rape charge, the unnamed father was merely given a suspended sentence.

Authorities are also looking into whether the daughter’s mother, who had left the family home six years earlier, was aware of her husband’s horrific sexual abuse.

Local media has said the case has chilling echoes of Austrian Fritzl, who fathered seven children with daughter Elisabeth, who he kept locked inside a basement for 24 years.