ByMonica Charsley-News Reporter
20:40, 11 FEB 2022
UPDATED21:07, 11 FEB 2022
Tracy and Timothy Ferriter, from Florida, reportedly locked up the teen for up to 18 hours a day and would abuse him with a jump rope at a garage connected to their home.
Tracy and Timothy Ferriter reportedly abused the 13-year-old and kept him locked inside of the box located in their garage ever since they adopted him in 2017, police said.
The boy told the police he was even "slammed against a wall by his neck" and was spanked with a belt and a jump rope at the property in Florida, USA, reports station WPEC.
The couple installed a spy camera inside of the box and fitted a deadbolt and a light switch outside of it, according to police.
He was kept in confinement with just a mattress and a bucket, and was only set free to go to school before he would come home and be locked back up again, reports WPTV.
The Ferriters were arrested when police came across the "structure" during a visit to their home following a missing person report filed by Tracey on January 28.
The cops learned about his alleged living conditions after they interviewed the 13-year-old, who had run away, while he was at school, reports Fox 13.
He told investigators that he was locked away for up to 18 hours per day and ran away from home "because I feel like no one loves me".
It was reported that the desperate teen begged police to arrest him and said he would "rather be in prison than be back at home."
The couple's defence attorney suggested that the boy suffered from reactive attachment disorder, which is when the child is unable to form an emotional bond with their guardians.
The attorney offered the supposed condition as an explanation for why the Ferriters wanted to lock him up.
It has been reported that the other children living in the property, including a two-year-old, have been taken into protective custody.
Police said the pair have been charged with aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment and are being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.
They were bonded out at a set price of $50,000 (£36,857.50) and have also been instructed by a judge to have no contact with any of their children.