The biological mother of the boys at the center of the "caged children trial" told FOX 12 she's saddened and concerned by the verdict.
On Tuesday, John Eckhart and Alayna Higdon were acquitted on charges of unlawful imprisonment, accused of locking the two autistic children in a wire caged room with little else but a dirty mattress, according to prosecutors.
However, their defense argued the arrangement was for the children's own safety and to protect them since they had a tendency to hurt themselves.
After four hours of deliberating, jurors acquitted the couple on all counts.
"Does that mean it's OK to lock up your kids just because you can't handle their behavior? It's scary," said Jona Bronson, the boys' biological mother who now has custody of one of the children.
The other remains with a foster family. Their biological father, John Eckhart, was caring for the boys, then 5 and 7, when the investigation began two years ago.
Bronson told FOX 12 the boys' behavior and appearance has improved dramatically since they were removed from their father's home.
She said it's hard for her to believe they would require a caged room.
"They don't need that kind of protection. They know their boundaries and limitations and want to be talked to and treated like people," Bronson said.
Bronson said she would like to regain custody of both children; however, it's unclear whether their father will try to regain custody. FOX 12 left a message for his attorney but hadn't heard back as of deadline.
Both Eckhart and Higdon declined to comment following the trial.
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