Trapped in darkness

At first glance there's nothing unusual about this neighborhood in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Quiet, narrow streets are lined with perfectly regular houses for the area. In districts like this, neighbors don't often keep secrets from each other. But one family was hiding something sinister — for 15 years. People on the street knew the Kuchumovs and had only good things to say about the couple. That is, until their inconceivably dark actions came to light.

The discovery began with an anonymous call to the police in July of 2013. The voice said that two children were locked up in that house. So the police, together with social workers, paid a visit to the Kuchumovs. The mother, Natalya, refused to allow them in but they forced her to open the door. What confronted them within those walls was unforgettably dreadful.

Here's the moving Ukrainian report, where we originally heard about this story (in Ukrainian):

The interior was so dark and squalid that the workers could hardly believe a family lived in it. But the worst was when they found two children. One boy lay in a corner on a filthy mattress. He hardly looked human and when he thought they were trying to corner him, he panicked and tried to hide under a rag that served as his only blanket.

They would later discover that the boy was named Lubomir Jr. and was 14 years old.

In another corner the horrors continued: here they found six-year-old Yuriy. This boy was extremely malnourished, soiled, and so neglected that he didn't have the wherewithal to speak.

The boys were immediately removed from the house and brought to the hospital. Their mother stunned the social workers and police by simply standing by and watching impassively. She was completely calm and didn't seem to understand why the visitors were so shocked. She explained to police that she sometimes "opened the window" so that the boys always had "enough air."

Doctors at the hospital were also aghast when Lubomir and Yuriy arrived. Neither of the children could speak, walk, or even hold utensils to eat. The boys moved by crawling. Their whole bodies were covered with sores and scrapes.

It was later established that Lubomir had only been outside the house three times in his life and that, in his six years, Yuriy had never once seen daylight. Both had been kept in the house like dogs and were even forced to eat from a dish on the ground.