The parents of two Cedar Park girls, aged 5 and 6, accused of never sending their children to school or teaching them to communicate have both been arrested and charged with first-degree felonies.
Police said the girls’ father Jacob Mark O'Donnell, 31, who now identifies as Aria Young, was also arrested on Nov. 8. O’Donnell has been charged with two counts of injury to a child.
The girls’ mother, Mia Young, 26, was arrested two weeks ago and brought to the Williamson County Jail on two charges of injury to a child causing serious mental deficiency or impairment, according to reports.
According to U.S. Marshals officials, the couple is accused of locking their daughters in a dark closet for hours at a time.
The couple have brushed with the law before, having police called to their home twice for neglect while previously residing in California.
On May 17, an investigating officer arrived at the Young home in the 2000 block of South Lakeline Blvd. and said he tried to speak with the girls but discovered they were rendered unable to speak or comprehend basic questions. Police later learned the girls have never been enrolled in school for a formal education. The officer noted the 5-year-old seemed to be malnourished and disheveled in appearance, with tangled hair and dirty clothes.
"They barely came out for free time, or whatever you want to call it, but when the officers arrived, they were living in deplorable conditions,” said Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Darren Sartin. “The kids were dirty, they had dirty diapers,"
The girls’ mother told the officer that her daughters couldn’t speak because they weren’t taught by her or their father.
"The kids can't even communicate verbally. They communicate with each other by making noises or sounds," Sartin said.
Child Protective Services has stated that the Youngs do not have a record.
According to Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Young’s home was investigated in November 2017 due to concerns about filthy conditions but was dropped as "inconclusive."
In December 2017, Aria and Mia Young asked the California Children and Family Services agency to remove their daughters, citing that "they were not able to physically and financially care for the children," according to the report. However, the report states that in January 2018, Aria Young decided to keep the girls, closing the investigation.
Thanks to speech therapy she received throughout the summer, the 5-year-old child is now able to speak 200 words, the equivalent of that of a one-year-old.
O'Donnell/Young is currently being held at the Williamson County Jail with bond set at $200,000.