A 14-year-old boy in Florida was allegedly forced by his adoptive parents to live in an 8x8 ft. structure inside their house’s garage for roughly five years.
The police initially arrived at Tracy and Timothy Ferriter’s house in Jupiter, Florida after they received a report from the boy’s mother that their adopted son was missing on Jan. 28, 2021. Tracy also said that the boy suffered from “several behavioral disorders” and was involved in an affair at school prior to going missing.
Upon arriving at the couple’s house, the police noticed the structure in the garage, which locked on the outside and contained items such as a mattress wrapped in a gray sheet, books, a desk, and a chair. The couple initially said that the cell-like room was a makeshift office.
The authorities found the boy at school the next day and questioned why he ran away from home. He answered that he was forced to live in the said space when he’s not at school and “was spanked, hit with a belt and a jump rope and frequently spit on.” Reports said that the boy was sent his meals in the structure and was only given a bucket to serve as his restroom, which he cleaned himself.
The adopted teen went on to share that he “felt that no one loves me.” The boy even pleaded with the police not to take him back home and said he would prefer to be arrested instead.
Thousands of footage from a Ring camera set inside the garage evidenced the boy’s stories and investigators alleged that the couple has been abusing their adopted son since 2017.
The teen reportedly suffered from a reactive attachment disorder – a condition normally diagnosed in infants and children, causing a failure to form healthy emotional attachments with primary caretakers. However, this disorder is also caused by an environment that does not fill in the needs of the child.
The Ferriters pled not guilty to one count of aggravated child abuse and one count of false imprisonment and posted a bail of $50,000 each.
Apart from the adopted son, the couple also has three other children, including a two-year-old toddler—all under the care of Child Protective Services.