Florida dad and GF lock up autistic son, 14, in a tiny shed with feces and canned food
A 14-year-old autistic boy in Florida was reportedly found inside a cramped 6x10 foot shed, along with a bucket of human feces and canned food. He was caged by his own father, Harry Richard Shoemaker, and by his girlfriend, Jennifer Ann Hines in the shed of a house in Arcadia, Florida.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) realized that the boy was locked in the shed following a visit to the house after a complaint was raised by the boy's grandmother.
Louisiana couple charged after locking autistic woman in cage, covering her in feces and forcing her to eat dead mother's ashes
Autistic boy, 11, tries to kill himself after he was repeatedly hit on the head with a metal pole by bullies in school
The boy was caged in a 6 x 10-foot room with canned food, a bed covered in food wrappers, scattered tools, and a bucket containing human feces. The shed only has one window and a vent, it was very hot and there was no electricity. There was no plumbing and no toilet. According to a report in The Sun, when the alleged victim was asked by Arcadia Police, where he used a restroom, he said: "If I have to urinate, my dad makes me go in the yard. If I have to do something else, he makes me walk to the closest store to use the restroom.”
The DCF had to forcibly open the door when the boy was rescued. The father, Harry Richard Shoemaker, aged 44 reportedly said he only locked him in there "in case if a fire started" and he also told the police that it was justifiable to cage the boy because of his "abnormal behavior".
The boy told the police that he was previously locked in another room of the house and that it was the father's girlfriend's idea to lock him in the shed, claiming his father was hesitant at first but then went along with the idea.
The couple was also not feeding the boy properly and he had to save a bottle of water to drink whenever he was hungry. Arcadia Police Department, Lieutenant Troy Carrillo said: "When talking to the victim, he explained to us, he was like 'Hey did you see that bottle of water that was in there?' We were like 'Yeah, we [saw] it.'" "He was like 'I was saving that for the weekend because I knew that was the only thing I was going to drink that entire time.'"
According to the police, the alleged victim had only eaten a packet of pistachios the day he was rescued. When questioned, the girlfriend, Hines, aged 36 claimed that she did not know anything about the shed. Lieutenant Carrillo said: "She said she had no knowledge of anything going on and tried to distance herself from the situation. But when we spoke to the victim, he told us what her part was."
Shoemaker and Hines are facing felony charges of cruelty toward a child, and aggravated battery on a child. The boy is currently in the care of his grandmother in New York.