Five Kansas children are in protective custody after the two youngest were found bound and blindfolded in a far corner of a Walmart parking lot.
The family appeared to have been temporarily living in the vehicle where the windows had been covered with clothing and cardboard. In addition to the tied-up children, police discovered three other children inside the car. The parents have been arrested for child abuse and endangerment.
Authorities are investigating the mysterious circumstances around the strange discovery.
On Wednesday, police in Lawrence, Kan., responded to a Walmart after a caller reported seeing what appeared to be a young child bound and blindfolded outside of a car.
Police found two children, ages 5 and 7, bound outside of the car.
"Their legs were bound, their arms were bound behind their backs and they were wearing, at the minimum, blindfolds," Lawrence police Sgt. Trent McKinley told ABCNews.com today.
McKinley did not know if the children's mouths were covered.
"They were off in the far southwest parking lot and they had covered the window of the vehicles and the doors that were open faced away from the parking lot," he said. "It was not something that a lot of people would have seen."
The officer spotted an adult male, now identified as Adolfo Gomez, in the vicinity of the car and tried to make contact with him. Gomez, 52, resisted the officer's contact and when the officer tried to detain him, the man suddenly tried to get back in the vehicle.
Officers deployed a Taser to subdue Gomez and take him into custody.
"This person was actively fighting. It was very strange circumstances," McKinley said. "Very tense moments, not something you would usually see."
The police then located the other children.
"[The officers] looked towards the rear in the interior [of the car] and saw three additional children. We didn't even know," McKinley said. "The windows were covered with clothing and cardboard from the inside"
The three children were 12, 13 and 15 years old. McKinley could not comment on what police have discovered from speaking to the children.
Authorities then learned that a woman, believed to be the children's mother, was shopping inside of the Walmart. Deborah Gomez, 43, was located inside the story and taken into custody.
Both Adolfo and Deborah Gomez were arrested on two counts of child abuse and five counts of child endangerment. Adolfo Gomez was also charged with obstruction of legal process from his scuffle with police.
All five children are in temporary protective custody in Douglas County.
The family said they were traveling from their home in Northlake, Ill., to visit relatives in Arizona. Their vehicle apparently experienced mechanical problems on Monday night, which forced them to stop at the Walmart.
Police believe the family stayed in the Walmart parking lot between Monday and the arrests on Wednesday morning.
In terms of whether it appeared that the family had been living in the car, McKinley said, "Certainly, at least on a temporary basis. We don't have any information that indicated that they spent the night at a hotel."
He said it is still unclear as this time why the young children were tied up and why the family had stayed in the parking lot.
"We're continuing to try and interview anyone who had knowledge of the family and understands the bigger picture of what was going on," McKinley said. "We would also like to put a timeline together to understand the days and weeks leading up to this and the general family dynamics."
Walmart is cooperating with police and sharing surveillance footage from the parking lot, though McKinley said the car was parked at the fringe of security camera range.
The couple is expected to make their first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.