Police: Jupiter Couple Forced Teen To Live in Garage For Years

Police: Jupiter Couple Forced Teen To Live in Garage For Years

JUPITER (CBSMiami) – A Florida couple is being held on $50,000 bond for forcing their 13-year-old son to live inside a small room in a garage for years. He was only allowed out to go to school, say authorities in Jupiter.

Police arrested the teenagers’ adopted parents, Tracy Ferriter, 46, and Timothy Ferriter, 46, on charges of aggravated child abuse, according to WPEC.

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Jupiter police say their 13-year-old adopted son had been physically abused and forced to live in a garage for five years in their home in the quiet Egret Landing community.

The investigation began when detectives responded to the home regarding a follow-up to a 13-year-old missing runaway investigation on Jan. 30.

Once inside the home, the detective noticed an 8-by-8 structure within the garage that was described by the mother as a small office, according to the police report.

The report says the structure had a doorknob and deadbolt, both locking from the outside as well as a light switch only on the exterior.

Officials say inside was a camera, mattress, and a bucket.

On Jan. 31, detectives located the missing runaway at school and were able to conduct several interviews with the juvenile.

Investigators determined the 13-year-old had been forced to live in the garage.

According to the police report, the teen was able to attend school; however, was confined to the garage during the remainder of the day. Meals were brought to the child and the bucket was provided for bathroom use.

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From the camera mounted over the mattress, police say they found thousands of videos of the boy locked inside.

Neighbors were shocked by the news.

“This was despicable and shouldn’t happen,” said Larry Ellis.

“Everybody is watching out for each other, so I’m really surprised something like this went unnoticed,” said neighbor Witty Matto.

Tracy and Timothy Ferriter are charged with Aggravated Child Abuse and False Imprisonment.

In court, the couple’s attorney argued the teen may have been abused because he has an attachment disorder with his parents.

“It makes my heart go out to that boy and I hope he’s able to find the support he needs,” said Matto.

The other three children living in the home have been removed by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The youngest is two years old. In court, there was no mention of whether they were possibly abused.

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Meanwhile, the couple is being held on a 50-thousand-dollar bond each.

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