Photo/IllutrationThe house where a 33-year-old woman was found dead and in an emaciated state after being confined in a tiny chamber for about 17 years. The house, shown here Dec. 26, is in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture. (Takaharu Yagi)

NEYAGAWA, Osaka Prefecture--A couple kept their daughter imprisoned in a tiny windowless chamber for almost 17 years until she died in an emaciated state in mid-December, police said.

The malnourished woman froze to death at age 33. She weighed just 19 kilograms, a forensic autopsy showed.

Her parents said she suffered from a mental disorder.

“(Our daughter) was violent, so we kept her in the special chamber at our home since she was around 16 and 17 years old,” one of the parents was quoted by Osaka prefectural police as saying.

“We were upset (when she died). We wanted to keep her around because she was precious to us.”

Her father, company employee Yasutaka Kakimoto, 55, and mother, Yukari, 53, were arrested Dec. 23 on suspicion of abandoning the corpse of the daughter. Police estimated she died around Dec. 18.

The chamber measuring 3.2 square meters occupied one of the rooms of the house, according to investigators.

A temporary toilet and monitoring camera were installed inside the chamber, which was locked from outside and had no window.

Recently, the daughter had to survive on one meal a day, which she ate inside her cell. She drank water through a tube from a water supply tank outside, investigators said.

The parents told police their daughter also went to the toilet inside the chamber.

Police said the woman's debilitating health condition due to her long years of confinement likely led to her death.