(Reuters) - A Georgia couple accused of locking their 13-year-old son in the basement for up to two years have agreed to turn themselves in on Friday to face felony child abuse charges, police said.
Recardo Wimbush, 33, and Therian Wimbush, 37, who have 10 children, told officials they locked the oldest in the basement because he ran away frequently and molested their other children, according to an incident report released by the Gwinnett County Police Department.
“The house, even the room he was in was clean, but the conditions were not acceptable,” said police spokesman Corporal Jake Smith. “It’s pretty disturbing.”
The case started with an anonymous call to the county’s child protective services department, reporting that a child was being held in a small room with a large jar to use as a makeshift toilet, Smith said.
During a hearing to authorize the removal of the child and his nine siblings from the home, “the parents admitted they kept the child locked in the basement room, but said it was because he ran away often and molested the other children,” the police incident report said.
The child, whose name was not released, and his nine siblings were all removed from the family home in suburban Atlanta, Smith said.
Police found the room clean and the child well-fed, but there was no light bulb in the room’s single fixture, and the only window was painted over with white paint, Smith said.
None of the children attended public schools, although police believe nine of them were being home-schooled. Police believe the boy held in the basement did not receive instruction, Smith said.
The parents face charges of first degree cruelty to children and false imprisonment, he said.
Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Editing by Eric Beech