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A Florida couple has been charged with aggravated child abuse after a runaway child investigation revealed evidence that had been physical abusing their adopted 13-year-old child.

Jupiter Police said they were called to a home in the Egret Landing community about a 13-year-old runaway on January 30. Tracy Ferriter, the mother, allowed one detective into the home, and he spotted an unusual 8′ x 8′ structure in the garage.

Ferriter told the detective it was used as an office and for storage space. The detective noted that there was a doorknob and deadbolt on the structure’s door, both locking from the outside. A light switch was located on the outside as well.

Inside the structure, the detective found a camera, a mattress, and a bucket.

The following day, detectives found the missing runaway at school and interviewed the child.

“As the ongoing investigation continued and numerous interviews conducted, it was determined the 13 year-old has been physically abused and forcibly confined to live within the garage structure by his adopted parents (Tracy Ferriter and Timothy Ferriter) since at least 2017,” police said.

The child was allowed to attend school but was otherwise kept in the garage structure. The Ferriters brought meals to the child, and the bucket was the juvenile’s bathroom.

The Ferriters were booked into the Palm Beach County Jail, and three other children who were living at the home were taken into custody by Child Protective Services.

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