For over five years, a 14-year-old boy in Florida was allegedly forced by his adoptive parents to live in an 8×8 ft. structure inside their house’s garage.
The police first came at Tracy and Timothy Ferriter’s Jupiter, Florida home after receiving a report from the boy’s mother that their adoptive son had gone missing on January 28, 2021. Tracy further stated that the youngster had “several behavioral disorders” and was having an affair at school before going missing.
When the police arrived at the couple’s home, they saw a building in the garage that was sealed from the outside and had objects such as a mattress wrapped in a gray sheet, books, a desk, and a chair. Initially, the pair claimed that the cell-like area served as a makeshift office.
The next day, the authorities discovered the youngster at school and questioned him about why he had fled from home. He responded that he was forced to live in the structure while he wasn’t at school and was “spanked, hit with a belt and a jump rope, and frequently spit on.” According to reports, the youngster was provided his meals in the structure and was only given a pail to use as a lavatory, which he cleaned himself.
The adoptive teen went on to say that he “felt that no one loves me,” and that he even begged police not to take him back home, preferring to be detained instead.
Thousands of photos from a Ring camera installed inside the garage confirmed the boy’s claims, and investigators claimed the pair had been torturing their adoptive son since 2017.
The teen was said to have reactive attachment disorder, a syndrome that is often identified in newborns and children that causes an inability to build appropriate emotional bonds with primary caregivers. However, this illness can also be induced by a child’s environment that does not meet his or her needs.
The Ferriters pleaded not guilty to one count of severe child abuse and one count of false imprisonment and each posted $50,000 bail.
Aside from the adopted boy, the couple has three other children, including a two-year-old toddler, who are all in the care of Child Protective Services.
Adopted teen in Florida was forced to live in garage with only a bucket as his restroom for nearly five years|PhilSTAR