Mother, Boyfriend Charged With Neglect, Abuse of 12-year-old

A 12-year-old boy was physically abused and kept alone in an empty room with only a bucket for a toilet, and his mother and her boyfriend were behind bars Saturday on neglect and child abuse charges, authorities said.

The boy, who was found lying in his own feces and dried blood, said his arm was burned on a stove and he was struck with fists, an extension cord and an aerosol can, Pinellas Park police said.

The boy's scars show his injuries — burns, a skull fracture and a broken nose — were healing in various stages, suggesting the abuse happened over an extended period, police said. He was hospitalized Friday.

As the boy recovers, his mother and the man who lived with them, Reginald Neil Carr, are being held at Pinellas County Jail.

The mother, who was not identified, was charged with four counts of child neglect with bail set at $80,000. Carr, 42, was charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse, with bail set at $400,000. The public defender's office was representing them, a jail official said Saturday.

Police said the boy was pulled out of school last year and told to read the Bible every day. He was kept in an apartment's bedroom with no furniture and only a plastic bucket for relieving himself, police said.

If the boy tried to come out of the room, an ironing board propped up against the door would fall and sound an alert, police said.

Police heard about the alleged abuse from a resident of Freedom Village subsidized housing complex, who saw the boy in the lobby of the complex.

"The mother's contention was the child was a very difficult child to handle," Pinellas Park police Capt. Michael Haworth said. "She gave no indication on how the child received the injuries. Her statement to detectives was whenever she asked the child about the injuries, the child wouldn't give her any information."

Detectives said the boy and his mother moved to Pinellas Park from Alabama about seven months ago after she met Carr.

Carr, who is legally blind, was known by the boy and his mother as "Bishop," Haworth said.