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Florida Couple Allegedly Kept Adopted Son Locked In Box Since 2017 — Only Allowing Him Out For School

Photo: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
Tracy Ferriter, Timothy Ferriter

A Florida couple has been arrested after they allegedly locked their adopted 14-year-old son in a box in their garage, where he was only given a mattress, a bucket, and a camera to monitor him, according to the Jupiter Police Department.

Authorities first learned of the living conditions of the teenage boy on January 30 after the parents, Tracy and Timothy Ferriter, both 46, reported the boy missing.

When police arrived, they noticed an 8-by-8 structure inside the couple's garage, which Tracy said was used as an office and a storage space.

Police later discovered Tracy and Timothy Ferriter were locking their son in the structure.

Authorities discovered that the box had a deadbolt that locked from the outside, and that the light switch was only on the exterior of the structure, the police statement read. Inside, there was a mattress, a sheet, some books, and other personal items.

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The teenager was still allowed to attend school, but was "confined" to the room in the garage during the time he was at home.

"Meals were brought to the child and the bucket was provided for bathroom use," police said.

The boy was eventually found after going back to school, where he told police that his parents locked him in the box in the garage for up to 18 hours.

When an officer asked the boy why he'd run away, he reportedly told them, "because I feel like no one loves me."

The teenager reportedly begged police to arrest him, telling them that "he would rather be put in prison then back at home."

Officers found out that the Ferriters had been physically abusing and forcibly confining the teenager to live in the box in their garage since 2017.

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According to police reports, a search warrant issued for the home had revealed thousands of videos from a Ring camera that showed the teenager being locked in the box.

One video showed him being locked in the room after “being found to have ‘stolen’ chocolate and cookies from the kitchen despite being told he was not allowed to have them," according to the police report.

Both parents were then arrested, and are being charged with aggravated child abuse.

Authorities also found that the police department had received a call in December 2021 from a man who had been contacted to build an office in the garage of the Ferriters home, finding the specific instructions to be "very strange."

The man's description of the structure matched the description police had of the box where the teenager was forcibly kept.

The couple also had three other children in the home, all of whom have been removed by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The Ferriters appeared in court Wednesday where they were ordered to be held on $50,000 bail and to have no contact with their kids unless given permission by the state Department of Children and Families.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.

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