ESCANABA, Mich. – A 15-year-old boy was kept inside a home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for four years, rarely leaving a room made from tarps while being tortured and abused, police said Thursday.
The teen's mother and her boyfriend were arrested last week and are in the Delta County jail, charged with torture, child abuse and criminal sexual conduct, Escanaba police Capt. Jamie Segorski said.
"Neighbors were surprised there was a child in the house. They never saw toys or bikes. It was shocking to them," Segorski told The Associated Press.
"There was a large room, like an attic, and a smaller room using tarps that were stapled to the walls and floor," he said. "The only source of heat was a space heater. He was allowed on the stairs to eat."
The boy was discovered last Friday when a relative who hadn't seen him asked police for help. Segorski said school officials were never suspicious of an absence because the teen was not enrolled in Escanaba schools. He and his mother were not longtime residents.
When police arrived, "he was scared," Segorski said. "It was just a shock there were people other than (the boyfriend) and his mother at the residence."
Defense attorneys declined to comment. A hearing to determine if there's probable cause to send the case to trial is set for April 25.
A neighbor, John Douros, said it's frustrating to live so close to the house yet know nothing.
"Every time I inquired, `How's your kid doing?' I was always told that he was downstate with his biological father," Douros told TV station WLUC.