Police say a Florida couple kept their adopted son in a box in the garage

 Police say a Florida couple kept their adopted son in a box in the garage

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

A Florida couple has been charged with child abuse after allegedly forcing their 13-year-old adopted son to live in an 8’x8′ box in their garage, according to officials.

Tracy and Timothy Ferriter were arrested by Jupiter police after investigators said the child was forced to live in the structure with a mattress and a bucket since 2017, when the child was first adopted, according to the New York Post. According to police, a deadbolt and a light switch were installed on the outside of the box, and a camera was installed inside the structure.

Tracey reported her son missing on January 28th, urging the arrest. Days later, on Jan. 30, investigators went to the house and claimed to have discovered the structure.

Officials said they also paid a visit to the 13-year-old at Independence Middle School, where they interviewed him and learned about his alleged living conditions. The boy allegedly told detectives that he was imprisoned for up to 18 hours per day.

According to WPTV, the child also stated that he ran away from home “because I feel like no one loves me” and that he did not feel safe.

Child protective services have relocated the other children living in the home, according to WFLA.

According to the report, a neighbor of the couple said they “kept to themselves” and confirmed seeing the structure himself.

“We’ve been here for a while now since 2007. So, knew them…Can’t say we knew them well… they kind of kept to themselves. Yeah, but it’s weird and crazy news,” said Aric Preisendorf, WFLA reported.

“It’s a three-car garage. On the single car garage, there was where a room was built in there, but I never went in the house or in the garage. You could see it from the outside,” he added, per the report.

According to police, the Ferriter’s have been charged with aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment and are being held at the Palm Beach County Jail. A judge set their bond at $50,000 and ordered them not to contact any of their children, according to WGXA.

According to WXGA, an attorney for the Ferriter’s suggested the couple was innocent of the charges, and Tracey told investigators the boy had behavior problems.

“Law enforcement has an obligation to conduct investigations in an objective and thorough manner. I made the information known to the police in order to assist them in the factfinding process, including evidence from Arizona where this family had lived up until a month ago.

This critical evidence was ignored,” said attorney Nellie L. King, according to the report. “In the criminal legal system, the temptation for a community to rush to judge is tempered by the judicial process, a presumption of innocence, and the facts. What Tim and Tracy have lived through the past many years will therefore be presented in court.”

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