JUPITER, Florida — A couple is facing criminal charges after police say they kept their adopted teen child locked in a box in their garage, sometimes for up to 18 hours.
Tracy and Timothy Ferriter, both 46 years old, are being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on $50,000 bond on charges of aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment, according to police.
A news release from police says officers were called to the Ferriters’ home on Jan. 30 to investigate the runaway of the Ferriters’ 13-year-old adopted son. While at the home, a detective noticed an 8-foot-by-8-foot structure in the garage. Inside the structure was a camera, mattress, and a bucket, police say.
The detective noticed the structure had a doorknob and deadbolt, both locking from the outside, as well as a light that could only be turned on from the outside.
Tracy Ferriter first told the detective the structure was used as an office, then said it was used for storage space, police say.
On Jan. 31, police found the boy at his school. Detectives interviewed the teen and he told them he had been physically abused and was forced to live in the structure when he wasn’t at school. He said he was brought meals, but he had to use the bathroom in the bucket. He told police he had been forced to live in the box since 2017.
The Palm Beach Post reports that the boy told police he had been kept in the box for as long as 18 hours straight.
The other three children living in the home have been removed by Child Protective Services, police say.
A lawyer for the Ferriters told a judge the teen has behavioral disorders, WEAR Channel 3 reports. The lawyer, Nellie King, tells the Post that police have ignored “crucial evidence” in the case, although the evidence was not explained.