DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado mother is accused of locking her 14-year-old developmentally disabled son inside a squalid trailer, feeding him just four meals a week, then abandoning him to take a trip with her boyfriend, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Amanda Jolliff, 36, is charged with false imprisonment, child abuse, and at-risk neglect of her son, discovered to be living in a rodent-infested mobile home in Erie, Colorado, northwest of Denver, according to a statement from the Weld County District Attorney’s Office.
Her live-in boyfriend, Richard Smith, 31, also was charged, it said. They were jailed on $20,000 bond each.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, police were called to the mobile home park last month after a neighbor found the boy, who was not identified, hiding underneath his porch with his mother nowhere to be seen.
The neighbor said Jolliff and Smith had taken a bus to New York two weeks earlier, and others who lived at the home had moved away, leaving the boy to fend for himself.
When police searched the home, they found mice scurrying throughout the residence and “detected an overpowering odor of animal urine and feces,” according to the affidavit.
Inside the home were two dogs, a macaw, two cockatiels, a cockatoo, two ducks and four toads, police said.
The boy told police his mother would lock him inside his room, letting him out just to clean up after the ducks. He said that since 2008 he was fed spaghetti or macaroni just four times a week.
Police said the boy’s bedroom window was boarded up, and there was an outside lock on his bedroom door. Inside the pantry, police said they found bags of spaghetti noodles that had been chewed open by mice and contaminated with droppings.
The boy said he was supposed to be home-schooled but that he had not received any education since his mother removed him from public school three years ago.
When Jolliff was located by police and questioned, she admitted to locking up the boy because he would run away and “used to irritate me really bad,” the affidavit said.
Editing by Steve Gorman and Jerry Norton