A scan of a normal head size is on the left and a scan of an individual with microcephaly is on the right. Wikimedia Commons

The tragic story of the New Mexico girl who was found locked in a cage is made even sadder as the young girl suffers from microcephaly, a rare neurological disorder that causes development disabilities.

On Tuesday, police announced the arrest of Cindy Patriarchias and Edmond Gonzales after discovering that they kept Patriarchias’ 8-year-old daughter locked in a wooden cage, reports The Associated Press. Patriarchias, along with Gonzales and his three children, went to see a movie at the elementary school the children attended on Friday. Patriarchias’ estranged husband also attended but did not see his daughter there, which led to the police being called and the young girl being discovered in the mobile home, locked in a wooden cage and left unattended.

The cage was only two and a half feet wide and four feet tall. The 8-year-old girl has not been identified but it was reported that she has microcephaly, a rare neurological disorder.

Microcephaly results from the abnormal growth of the skull while the infant is developing in the womb or abnormal growth after birth. According to the Mayo Clinic, the disorder causes the child’s head to be dramatically smaller than other children of the same age and sex.

There is no treatment for microcephaly but symptoms include mental impairment, impaired motor function and a smaller head size. The condition is rare, affecting only one out of 25,000 children in the United States annually, reports Boston Children’s Hospital. Not all infants affected by microcephaly will have learning disabilities, some will be able to live a normal life and have normal intelligence but in this case, microcephaly caused the girl’s developmental disabilities.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, microcephaly can be caused by genetic defects as well as abuse of drugs and alcohol by the mother during pregnancy, a viral infection, rubella, or another genetic condition. Other causes include the mother having diabetes as well as maternal malnutrition or mercury poisoning, according to the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

Microcephaly can be a singular disorder or the individual can also be affected by other disorders include Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders. Treatment, such as there is, includes management of symptoms as well as therapy sessions. Generally, children with microcephaly live a shorter life.

As reported previously on IBTimes, Patriarchias and Gonzales have been charged with several counts of child abuse and are being held on $25,000 bonds.