East Los Angeles
7-year-old Paul Esparza Jr. is in Juvenile Hall today, but that’s an improvement on his home life. Discovered locked in a five-foot square windowless closet at 1341 S. McBride Street after his cries were heard by a woman who’d come to fill the family dog’s water dish, Paul was freed from his tiny prison after deputies broke down the door.
The senior Paul Esparza, a cement worker, and the boy’s stepmother reportedly locked him up for the past six days before they left for work. Paul was imprisoned while his 6-year-old brother Robert was in school and baby Richard cared for by relatives, due to Paul Junior’s contagious skin condition.
Paul senior was arrested on his return to the house and booked on suspicion of child neglect. Neglect? The kid had water and sandwiches!