A Georgia couple has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after they plead guilty to locking up their teenage son for years and starving him before they bought him a one-way bus ticket to Los Angeles.
Paul and Sheila Comer held 18-year-old Mitch Comer captive for at least three years in their home. He was found by LAPD after he arrived downtown and was wandering around the streets.
Authorities thought he was around 12 years old, as the weighed just 87 pounds and stood at 5’1”.
For his birthday, Mitch said his parents bought him the one-way bus ticket and gave him pamphlets for homeless shelters in the Los Angeles area. They then threw away all reminders of his existence, including his past school work, pictures, and baby clothes.
When police found him, he told them he had not seen sunlight in two years, and told them of all the abuse he suffered by his parents, including being starved.
The next day, authorities went to their Georgia home and arrested them.
They pleaded guilty Thursday and were sentenced to 30 years, half of which will be served on probation.
Because they pleaded guilty, they avoided other possible sentences that could have put them behind bars for more than 100 years. It also meant their children did not have to testify since there was no trial.
Part of the deal forced the Corners to give up all assets. The money will go into a trust fund for their three children.
Half of the money will go to Mitch, who is now living with a foster family in the area. The other half will go to their two young daughters, who are also in foster care.
They have not explained why they abused the boy, but said that Mitch was the one who wanted to go to California so he could be an actor.
“We have no idea why it happened,” Paulding County District Attorney Dick Donovan said. “I don’t know why God makes people that are mean like that. I don’t think he makes people mean, but I don’t know why there are mean people like that. I really don’t.”
Mitch told investigators that he had been locked up in a bedroom with a bathroom for years and was not fed very much food. Usually, he would only get soup or cereal.
Their two daughters, ages 11 and 13, told investigators they had not seen their brother in years but had heard him cry and scream for food.
“The sisters haven’t seen the brother in over two years,” Paulding’s Cpl. Ashley Henson said. “They didn’t even know what color his hair was.”