Florida couple boarded 8-year-old shut in feces-covered room with no toilet, boy set mattress on fire to escape

In a rather terrifying turn of events, it has come to light that a young boy was locked in a dark boarded-up room by his parents while his sisters led relatively normal lives. A few weeks ago, firefighters were called to a home in Pasco County, Florida, to reports of a fire, only to find that an eight-year-old boy had set fire to a mattress in his bedroom. Police detectives arrived at the scene and discovered, that the boy had been kept in his room by parents Kelley Davis, 36, and Daniel Davis, 37. There was only a mattress and blanket inside the room, according to arrest reports. Kelley and Daniel were arrested on aggravated child abuse charges

The boy’s parents allegedly kept him locked in a bedroom for more than 12 hours, with no access to a bathroom or electricity. The authorities found the room smeared with feces and urine when they arrived on the scene, which led them to the conclusion that he was regularly forced to relieve himself in the bedroom. The electricity to his room had been shut off using a circuit breaker. The window had been boarded up. The boy had stayed inside the room since March, with no access to toys, games or television.

According to Tampa Bay reports, the couple had five daughters who did not receive the same treatment, apparently. According to the police, one of the girls slipped a box of matches under the door to the boy, who then set fire to the mattress. Many neighbors were rather surprised to know that there was a boy living there, as they had only seen the daughters. They said that they would have done more to alert authorities had they known about the abuse meted out to the boy. Yet, several 911 calls made from the home over the last year, along with an incident where a neighbor reported that the boy came into their garage seven times in one day looking for food, did not seem to raise many red flags among authorities.

“They seemed normal,” Charles Clutter, who lives a few houses down from the Davis family, told Tampa Bay Times. “You truly don’t know who your neighbors are.” The family had shifted to Florida in 2010, with the dad finding work at a roofing and construction company. Mrs. Davis was a stay-at-home mom. Neither had prior criminal records in Florida, though they had been evicted twice in the area. 

“They keep to themselves,” said Tom Bowen, 57, who lives across the street. The next-door neighbor Shawn Brannack did not have a good opinion of the parents, and said that they wouldn’t let their children mingle with other kids. He also asserted that large amounts of rubbish, including soiled nappies, piled up in the garden. “I’ve had a problem with them since they moved in,” he said.

The couple’s six children are now in state protective custody, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Both parents have been released on $10,000 bonds since being arrested on October 5. 

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