ATLANTA (AP) - A grand jury has indicted a Georgia couple accused of confining their teenage son to a bedroom for years with little food.
A Paulding County grand jury on Monday handed down the indictment charging the teen's stepfather, Paul, and mother, Sheila Comer, with seven counts of cruelty to children, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of kidnapping.
The Comers were arrested last month and accused of abusing 18-year-old Mitch Comer. They are being held without bond.
Lawyers for the Comers did not immediately return calls Tuesday, but they have previously said their clients are innocent and another side of the story will come out at trial.
The indictment alleges the Comers caused the teen physical and mental harm before his 18th birthday in September by depriving him of food, confining him in a room, refusing to provide medical assistance, punching him in the jaw and kicking him in the groin.
Detectives investigating the case testified at a probable cause hearing earlier this month that Mitch Comer was confined to a bathroom and bedroom for years and was given little food. He told police he was sometimes forced to kneel on the floor for hours with his forehead against a wall, his hands behind his head and his feet lifted off the ground.
His stepfather put a blanket over his head and put him in a van to drive him to Mississippi to catch a bus to Los Angeles on Sept. 8, the day after his birthday, he told investigators. He told authorities his stepfather gave him a few hundred dollars and a list of homeless shelters before putting him on the bus.
A retired police sergeant working security at a downtown Los Angeles bus station noticed Mitch Comer on Sept. 11. Police decided to investigate further because the 87-pound teenage boy stood just over 5 feet tall and looked much younger, Los Angeles police said last month. The teen told authorities he had suffered from years of abuse after being taken out of school in the eighth grade.