A Gastonia couple locked a 14-year-old boy in a bedroom with boarded up windows for days, grossly neglecting him and depriving him of food and water, according to Gastonia Police.
Joy Evonne Skipper, 45, and Johnny Rufus Dickson Sr., 41, were arrested Saturday and charged with child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Dickson is the boys father.
They posted bond on Saturday afternoon. The boy is in child protective services, and the case is under investigation.
According to warrants, the couple boarded up the childs bedroom windows and left him in there for days.
They forced him to go to the bathroom in a bucket, which remained in his bedroom.
When police found him, the boy was suffering from dehydration, officials said.
James Withers, who lives nearby, said the teen would frequently hang out at his home and was always eager to eat.
He was always coming by to eat. He knew wed never turn him away, Withers said. He was sort of tense like something wasnt right. You could see it in his eyes.
Withers said the teen was respectful and would frequently help him with chores to show he appreciated what wed done for him.
Withers said he never met the teens parents and he didnt ask any questions about the teens home life either.
Lately he seemed to be staying later and later over here. Almost like he didnt want to go home, Withers said.
Leigh Pruitt, who lives next door to the mobile home in which the teenager lived, said several neighbors would often feed the teenager.
She would often watch the teen walk around in circles for hours in his backyard, Pruitt said.
Something seemed off over there, said Pruitt. Im blown away that something like that was going on right next door. Had I known, I would have done more to help him.