Mother Who Left Son Shackled Reunited With Her Children

The mother had been charged with child abuse and endangerment, but those charges have now been dropped.

By Vikki Vargas and Brittany Bade
|  Thursday, Jul 10, 2014  |  Updated 1:08 PM PDT
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Irma Navarro, the Orange County mother who locked up her now 11-year-old-son with a chain and padlock, faces no criminal charges and has reunited with her family. Vikki Vargas reports from Orange County for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

Vikki Vargas, Lori Bentley

Irma Navarro, the Orange County mother who locked up her now 11-year-old-son with a chain and padlock, faces no criminal charges and has reunited with her family. Vikki Vargas reports from Orange County for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

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A Santa Ana mother arrested last year for shackling her son as a “last ditch effort” to manage his bad behavior was reunited with her children Wednesday after she completed a court program and counseling.

Irma Navarro’s son, then 10 years old, was found with a chain wrapped and locked around his ankles, crying and in pain in the courtyard of the family’s apartment complex on July 18th 2013, Santa Ana police said.

"I know it’s bad what I did, I recognize that since the first time I went to the police officer," Navarro said. "I said yeah, maybe it was wrong, but I did it for safety."

At that time, Navarro believed the chain was the only way to control her now 11-year-old son who she feared would continue to hang out with the wrong crowd and spiral out of control, following his expulsion from school.

"She basically left him in his underwear with the chain around his feet. She took the lock with her, but she left him food; she left him games to play with," Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

The mother’s attorney, Doug Potratz, said that his client "had the right mindset" and said that "she didn’t want her children going down the wrong path, she just did it the improper way."

After her arrest, Navarro was charged with child abuse and endangerment. All three of her sons then lived with an aunt for the next seven months. During this time, her sons received counseling and their mother learned how to better handle her struggles. The charges have now been dropped.

Nearly a year later, the Navarro family is "back on track."

"He (shows) me love every chance, every minute he can. He hug me and say just give me a hug," Navarro said.

Social workers and counselors will continue to monitor the family, but Navarro says she feels blessed to have her family back together.

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