Florida couple abused son, 13, and forced him to live in tiny garage without bathroom for years
JUPITER, FLORIDA: Florida couple, Timothy and Tracy Ferriter, both 46, have been arrested over allegations of physically abusing their adopted teenage son and forcing him to live in an 8-foot by 8-foot structure in the garage for at least five years. The couple was arrested in Jupiter on charges of "false imprisonment", "cruelty towards child" and "aggravated child abuse".
According to police reports, detectives arrived at the Ferriters' home after Tracy reported the 13-year-old teen was missing. When they arrived, they noticed an 8-by-8 structure inside the garage that Tracy allegedly described as a small office. Authorities noticed that the structure had a deadbolt that locked from the outside and that its light switch was only on the exterior of the structure. Inside the structure were a mattress, a sheet, some books, and other personal items, reports People.
Florida couple handcuffed boy and kept him locked in closet for 16 hours a day since Christmas as punishment
The officers found the 13-year-old on the campus of Independence Middle School in Jupiter on January 31. As per WPTV, the teen told officers that his parents locked him in the structure "a lot", saying he was once locked in the room for up to 18 hours. When officers asked him why he ran away, he said, "Because I feel like no one loves me," adding that he did not feel safe at home. The teen then pleaded with officers to arrest him, saying that he "would rather be in prison than be back at home".
According to documents, a search warrant served at the house revealed thousands of videos from a Ring camera that showed the teen locked inside the structure. When the police questioned one of the boy's siblings, it was revealed that the teen gets locked in the structure when he's misbehaving or in trouble.
Detectives state that the parents had been physically abusing and forcibly confining the teen to live in the garage structure since 2017. The boy was able to attend school but was locked up during the remainder of the day while at home. Meals were brought to him and a bucket was provided for bathroom use, the police said.
NOW: Tracy and Timothy Ferriter appear at PBC Jail— Danielle Seat (@DanielleSeat) February 9, 2022
The couple is accused of forcing their 13-year-old adopted son to live in a small structure in the garage for years
According to the prosecutor “reactive attachment disorder” could be their reason for trapping the child inside pic.twitter.com/Apf8GIdzV2
After the couple was taken to jail, three other children living in the house were removed by Child Protective Services. On Wednesday, Defense Attorney Nellie King presented the documents in court suggesting the teen had reactive attachment disorder, a condition in which a child doesn't form a healthy emotional bond with the caretakers. The couple has pleaded not guilty, and the documents claim the teen's disorder may be the reason why the couple locked him up.
The couple's bond has been set at $50,000 each, and they have been ordered to have no contact with their children unless authorized by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Their mug shots were captioned, "FERRITER, TIMOTHY DUNNE & FERRITER, TRACY CHRISTINE 277 CRANE POINT NORTH, JUPITER, FL 33458 Charges 787.02 1B (FT) KIDNAP-FALSE IMPRISONMENT - CHILD UNDER 13 YEARS OF AGE Original Bond: $0.00Current Bond: $0.00 Bond Information 827.03 2A (FF) CRUELTY TOWARD CHILD - AGGRAVATED CHILD ABUSE"