CHESTER, S.C. – Police say a 45-year-old South Carolina man was hiding more than drugs and gambling machines in a walled-off section of his home.
When they arrived Tuesday, authorities said they also found the man's wife and her two sons living in a concealed part of the house amid human waste and food scraps. The woman claimed she and her sons — all barefoot when discovered by authorities — had been held captive for four years, said county sheriff's Detective Scott Thompson.
He said there was no indication of physical abuse. Authorities said the rooms in which the three were living were littered with trash and used toilet paper.
"You get to the point where you don't try to leave. Sometimes people get to a point that they don't know anything different," Thompson told The Herald of Rock Hill for Wednesday's newspapers.
Danny William Dove was charged with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of criminal conspiracy, operating a gambling establishment and two counts of child neglect. He remained in jail Wednesday after being denied bond.
The woman and her sons were taken into protective custody and their case was turned over to state officials.
Thompson said the woman tried to leave at least once three years ago when she stole her husband's truck, but he persuaded her to return. Authorities said the boys — ages 4 and 8 — were allowed outside but had to stay close to the house.
Scott Gibson, a neighbor, told the newspaper that he had seen glimpses of the boys but knew they weren't going to school because no buses stopped at the home. Dove told him he was going to home school the boys, said Gibson, who added that he tried to hold an Easter egg hunt for the children but they never came out of the house.
Chester is about 50 miles south of Charlotte, N.C.