TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Questions are being asked as to how Benito and Carol Gutierrez adopted four young children ages 6 to 12.
The children were discovered being held captive in the couple's Flowing Wells home.
The discovery happened when one of the children got out a bedroom window, went to a local store to call an uncle and a clerk became suspicious and called 911.
Police discovered the children were living in horrid conditions, locked in two bedrooms and not allowed out. The windows were boarded shut and all they had a bucket for a toilet. There were deprived of food and water.
Police won't answer many questions such as to whether these adopted children were part of a kinship adoption, which is family adopting family.
We do know the children were adopted over a several year span. The first one was adopted when he was two years old. How the others became part of the family over time is still a mystery.
But what we do know, the adoption process is rigorous and time consuming.
Even so, in a statement sent to KOLD News 13 from the Department of Child Safety, some slip though the cracks:
The Arizona Children's Association says in the case of kinship adoption, were family members adopt the children of other family members, especially grandparents, cases like this can be hard to detect.
"Typically, in an adoption, we're going to stay on board until the adoption is certified," said Dave Quis, who counsels foster parents. "Once the court says that's it, the kid is now legally yours, we don't go back into the home."
Prior to adoption, Quis says, the state will make four in-home visits a year, as well as offer services and monitor the health and well being of the children.
In a case like this, the only way to detect it is if the children tell a teacher something is wrong at home, then the teacher is required to report it.
Or if someone stumbles into it, like this case.
"If they adopt a child, then there's no reason for us to continue services with them," Quis said.