LOS ANGELES – A scrawny Georgia teen who was discovered at a bus station told police his abusive stepfather gave him $200 and a list of homeless shelters before he was sent packing on a bus to Los Angeles, authorities said Thursday.
Retired Los Angeles police Sgt. Joe Gonzalez was working security at a downtown bus station Sept. 11 when he spotted 18-year-old Mitch Comer, who stood just over 5 feet tall, weighed 87 pounds and looked much younger, LAPD said in a news release Thursday.
Comer told Gonzalez his stepfather declared that he was now a man before putting the teen on a bus.
Because he was so childlike, police worried that he wasn't as old as he claimed and decided to investigate further. The teen told authorities he had suffered years of abuse after being taken out of school in the eighth grade.
Confined to a room with little food, Comer said he had two younger sisters that he had almost never seen.
Authorities in Los Angeles contacted law enforcement in Georgia, where Paulding County sheriff's deputies had to track down Comer's stepfather and mother because the isolated teen didn't know his address.
After being interviewed, they were arrested on charges of child abuse and false imprisonment.
Comer was flown back to Dallas, Ga., on Wednesday to participate in the investigation and legal proceedings.
His younger sisters were taken into protective custody by Paulding County Children's Services.