A Florida couple was arrested for allegedly forcing their adoptive teen son to live in a small locked structure inside the garage of their home for several years, police said.
The horrifying conditions endured by the 13-year-old boy were uncovered by authorities after the teen was reported missing from the family’s Jupiter home on Jan. 30, according to cops.
A detective investigating the missing-persons case spotted the 8-by-8-foot structure with a deadbolt lock and a light switch on the exterior wall, according to the Jupiter Police Department.
Inside the box was a bucket, mattress and a camera.
The mother, Tracy Ferriter, claimed to the detective the space was used as an office and for storage, police said.
But after police found the missing son at school the following day, they learned of far more sinister use for the structure.
Through several interviews, including with the boy, police determined Ferriter and her partner, Timothy Ferriter, allegedly kept the boy locked up in the box since at least 2017.
The teen was only allowed to leave for school, police said. Meals were brought to him and he was forced to go to the bathroom in the bucket.
The Ferriters were charged with aggravated child abuse.
Three other children were living inside their home. They have since been placed into the custody of Child Protective Services, authorities said.