TAMPA (NBC) – The investigation of a teen runaway case in January has led to child abuse allegations dating back years.
Jupiter police say an 8×8 structure was found in a garage of the home in a Florida neighborhood.
Police said the structure included a doorknob and deadbolt as well as a light switch that could only be accessed on the outside. Inside the room was a camera, mattress, and a bucket.
Days later officers located the child at school and were able to interview the 13-year-old. Investigators say they determined that the child was physically abused and forced to live in the structure by his adopted parents Tracy and Timothy Ferriter since 2017.
They also determined the child was confined to the structure during the remainder of the day and his meals were brought to him and he used a bucket to go to the bathroom.
Aric Preisendorf said he used to live next door to the Ferriter’s saying he would see the kids playing in the street.
“We’ve been here for a while now since 2007. So, knew them…Can’t say we knew them well they kind of kept to themselves. Yeah, but it’s weird and crazy news,” Preisendorf said.
He said he even saw a structure in the garage.
“It’s a three-car garage. On the single car garage, there was where a room was built in there, but I never went in the house or in the garage. You could see it from the outside,” Preisendorf said.
Both Tracy and Timothy Ferriter have been charged with aggravated child abuse and are being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.
The three other kids living in the house have been removed by child protective services.