(CNN) -- A California mother is scheduled to appear in court on Monday after being accused of wrapping a chain around her son's ankles and locking it.
Irma Navarro, 37, was arrested last week on suspicion of willful child cruelty, according to a statement from the Santa Ana Police Department. She remains in custody.
Navarro allegedly shackled her son because she did not want him "running the streets and getting into trouble or mixed up with the wrong group of kids while she was at work," the statement said.
It was not immediately clear whether Navarro had retained representation.
Officers found the child, 10, in the courtyard of an apartment complex. He had a long chain wrapped around his ankles, they reported. The chain was locked and had to be removed with bolt cutters.
A witness told police she and a friend had noticed the boy leaning against a tree and crying. She asked how the chain and lock got around his ankles, and he allegedly told her, "My mom did this to me," police said.
Navarro has three children. Another one of her children was being watched by a baby sitter, while the third was at school at the time of the incident, police said.
All three have been placed in protective custody by social services.