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Tracy and Timothy Ferriter are a Florida couple who are accused of repeatedly locking their teenage son in what one witness described as a “very strange” room in the family’s garage.
A probable cause affidavit was filed in Palm Beach County courts in Florida. It accuses the father and mother of unlawfully caging a child. They are accused of aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment, according to court records.
Thousands of videos were obtained which showed him being repeatedly locked inside of his room daily, the affidavit says. In court, their defense attorney argued the boy may have had “an attachment disorder with his parents,” according to WPTV. They were released on $50,000 and can’t have contact with their four children, according to the television station.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. It Started as a Missing Person’s Investigation, Reports Say
The probable cause affidavit into Timothy Dunne Ferriter alleges the following:
On Sunday, January 30, 2022, an officer with the Jupiter Police Department was on call when he was notified to respond to a missing person’s investigation.
In late December 2021, an officer responded to a police service call. The complainant, identified only as Jack, advised that he was contacted by a person whose name was blacked out to build an office in the garage of the residence in Jupiter, Florida.
He advised that he agreed to the job but after receiving the instructions for the build “he began thinking it was very strange.”
He advised that the room “was built as an 8-foot-by-8-foot space in the garage with its own ceiling and door. Jack further advised the door had a dead bolt lock and a knob only on the outside, no knob inside so if someone were inside the office they would not be able to exit unless someone opened the door for them from the outside.”
He said he was instructed to build the space “with electricity and install a window air conditioning unit as well as a camera in the ceiling” and was given two days to complete the project. Officers learned that a victim known as AM, age 14, was missing and has run away from home on several occasions. Police were told he has “several behavioral disorders and advised he was in trouble at school the day prior” so it was believed he ran away. He was not present in his last class.
The officers went to the Ferriter residence to see if the boy had returned home with negative results.
On January 30, 2022, officers went back to the Ferriter residence to see if he had returned home, The mother did not want anyone to enter the residence. No one answered a knock.
2. Officers Were Able to Tour the Room
Officers learned there was a “structure” the family had built for the victim in the garage, the affidavit says.
Officers observed the structure which was a small room with a plain white door. The door had a doorknob and deadbolt, both locking from the exterior. There was a light switch. Inside the room was a small plain box spring and on top of that a mattress with gray sheet and a pillow.
There were school books with a desk and foldable chair and there was a camera.
There was no paint on the walls, and it appeared to be bare drywall. The floor was a bare garage floor, with part of an indoor outdoor rug covering it.
Officers were told the room was built as an office and was used as storage. It was also described as a space used by all of the children. Then it was stated the space was sometimes used by a name that was blacked out.
3. Officers Eventually Tracked Down the Boy, Who Said He Feels Like No One Loves Him
Officers went to Independent Middle Schools. Staff members said the victim had not returned. However, officers locate the boy running near the front of the campus, the affidavit says.
The victim told police that on a typical morning he is woken up because his door is locked. He is told to go the bathroom and then back to his room. The door was locked and usually the lights were turned off. After his other siblings were dropped off at school, he would be fed breakfast, a banana and a piece of bread and peanut butter. When he was finished eating, he would go to school.
After school, he would come back into the room. He said it was 8 X 8 and had a lockable doorknob and deadbolt lock that both locked form the outside. He would be locked in there and had to stay in his room. He said he was in there a lot.
He said that he didn’t play with friends or family and would be reading books in his room and not allowed to go anywhere else in the house. He said he ran away because “I feel like no one loves me.”
He didn’t feel safe because a person whose name was blacked out allegedly gets “really aggressive” with him. He stated when asked how his dad gets aggressive, that he was slammed against a wall by his neck and struck in the face with an open hand, the affidavit contends.
The boy described profanity and anger and being spit in the face. He was spanked with a belt.
The longest he could remember being locked inside of the room was 6-18 hours. He was provided with a bucket to go the bathroom and had to dump it out in the backyard. He eats most meals in his bedroom, usually leftovers after the rest of the family eats.
He said he did not want to return to his family. He pleaded to be arrested, stating he would rather be in prison than back at home and had suicidal thoughts.
4. A Sibling Confirmed There Was a Room in the Garage
A sibling confirmed the allegations stating that the boy’s room is in the garage and je gets put into his room when he is either misbehaving or in trouble and stated he is in trouble a lot, according to the affidavit.
She said she wanted to do the right thing. He received “extremely different” punishment from siblings.
One time, he was locked in his room after being found to have stolen chocolate and cookies from the kitchen. The covers were removed from his mattress, it was picked up and tossed against the room .
Anther woman told police there is a “creepy” room in the garage at the previous Ferriter residence.
The current owner said the room was removed because it could only be locked from outside and believed the room was made to keep someone inside of it.
5. The Ferriters Filled Their Social Media Accounts With Family Photos
Both Ferriters filled their Facebook pages with photos of their kids, on vacation, on Christmas, and out to eat.
“Merry Christmas from The Ferriters,” read the Facebook page. In 2020, she wrote, “I am so proud of these girls this weekend. They won all 7 games and brought home the championship. It is amazing to see how hard they all worked to get there. Thanks to all our coaches. Go Tucson Heat!”
Tracy Ferriter’s page has now filled up with angry comments.
A website bio for Tim Dunne Ferriter says:
Tim Dunne Ferriter is an experienced leader, enthusiastic and driven professional with a diverse and successful background from Fortune 500 companies (Medtronic & Boston Scientific) to Venture-Backed Start-up organizations. Held significant roles with venture backed startup companies that successfully went through to acquisition. Adept at up-stream and down-stream marketing. Excellent communication skills including foreign language proficiency. Highly proficient in building leaders and developing strategic, high-level, long-term business relationships. Has worked and lived abroad including a European based role and a Latin American based role.
Specialties: Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing, Sales, Team Building, Business Development, Management, Leadership Development, Mentorship, Sales Management, Training, Branding, Advertising & Publishing.
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