The custodial dad is identified as MICHAEL MARSHALL. Not one word as to how this dude (who has an eerie resemblance to Charles Manson) was able to get custody, or what ever happened to this boy's mother. The grandparents now want custody, though they refuse to say if they knew of the physical condition of this boy, or the situation he was subjected to . Let's be frank: what this poor child suffered was nothing less than torture.
INVISIBLE MOTHER ALERT
Updated: 5:43 p.m. Friday, March 16, 2012 | Posted: 11:02 p.m. Thursday, March 15, 2012
Couple arrested after starving 40-pound 12-year-old found locked in bathroom
TITUSVILLE, Fla. —
A 12-year-old boy was found locked inside a bathroom of a home where he had been caged and starved for weeks at a time, according to the Titusville Police Department.
Investigators said it's one of the most disturbing local cases of child abuse in recent memory.
Police said the boy was emaciated and weighing only 40 pounds when they found him locked in a bathroom, lying on the floor at a home on Barna Avenue in Titusville on Thursday night.
"I've never seen kids over there. They have yard sales; I have yard sales they come to. I never even knew kids existed over there ever," said neighbor Tina Ray.
Investigators said they later found out the boy would be caged in a closet, strapped to a bed, or locked in the bathroom for days or weeks at a time over the past year.
"This occurred over a period of time," said Cpl. Gary Boyers, of the Titusville Police Department. "We're still trying to figure out what the time period is. Something like a couple of months, possibly even longer."
The boy's father, 39-year-old Michael Marshall, was taken away by police Thursday night. Investigators have charged him with aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment.
"What'd you do to that child? You almost killed him they say," asked reporter Steve Barrett.
"I didn't try to," replied Marshall.
Marshall's girlfriend, Sharon Glass, 48, was also arrested. Detectives said the two were the only adults permanently living at the home, but four other children and two adults were staying there as well.
WFTV learned on Friday that the boy has been out of sight for as many as two years.
A prosecutor was almost brought to tears when he saw the pictures of the boy, which were compared to images of people held in concentration camps.
"You're charged with three counts of child abuse," a judge told Marshall.
Marshall appeared before a judge in a suicide prevention gown looking bewildered.
"This is beyond the pale," said the prosecutor.
In another courtroom, a judge was granting temporary custody of the child and his sibling to their grandmother.
The judge though seemed to question whether the grandmother's home was appropriate.
"If the grandmother has ignored these symptoms in the past, I want to make sure that the grandmother is educated on what the child's needs are, so make sure that's accomplished," said the judge.
After court, the grandparents refused to say whether they knew about the boy's condition before the arrest.
"I'm just shocked. I can't believe someone would do that to their child," neighbor Alanna Dove said.
Marshall and Glass confessed to the caging and punishment after they were interviewed by police. They told police it was done as punishment because the boy began stealing food after food was being withheld from him.
The boy's appearance was severely emaciated and described by hospital staff as resembling images of concentration camp survivors, according to Titusville police.
Police said the boy was treated for dehydration and malnutrition and released from the hospital.
"Right now that's being investigated by the doctors and they'll give us a report back on how bad the situation is," said Boyers.
The children living at the home were taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families. Some of them were seen being taken away with backpacks.
Marshall was not at home at the time police arrived, but showed up later and admitted to what police called an unlawful caging situation.
Many neighbors said DCF workers checked on other homes on the street, but they don't understand how the children inside the home went unnoticed. Some of the neighbors said they blame themselves as well.
"I feel really bad because we should have known something. We should have suspected something seen something, but we didn't," Dove said.
A school counselor told WFTV the boy was pulled from South Lake Middle School in 2010 to be home-schooled after teachers reported he was being neglected.
"He's just been hidden away and it's hard to believe in this day and age on this busy street this could be happening, but it was," said guidance counselor Betty Bobay.
Both Marshall and Glass are in the Brevard County Jail.