A couple accused of locking two children in a basement, exposing them to sexual acts and feeding them just once a day are now in custody, Georgia police say.
“They’re a piece of trash, that’s what they are, to do that to kids,” neighbor Tim Webster told WSB-TV. “Just pure scum. No child deserves that. I’m sorry.”
Authorities allege the abuse happened between June 2017 and April 2018.
Investigators say the couple exposed the victims to drugs and sexual acts, and that Young tried to coerce the children into performing sexual favors on him.
McGowan and Young were booked into the DeKalb County Jail on multiple charges including cruelty to child-first degree deprive, cruelty to child-first degree pain, criminal attempt sodomy, cruelty to child second degree and simple assault fear.
Young’s uncle, Arthur Lee Dyers, said his nephew is innocent.
“Ain’t no kids been locked here in no basement…that’s a damn lie. they’ve never been in my basement,” said Arthur Lee Dyers, Young’s uncle, who said the children nor the couple ever lived with him, and the abuse in the basement never happened.
“I’ve known Thomas from a little boy, he had nothing to do with no kids like that,” Dyers said.
The ages of the children have not been released.
The couple have reportedly been denied bond and they have yet to receive a scheduled court date.
Recently in Oklahoma, four people are behind bars after a 15-year-old was found starving and sleeping in a barn in rural Lincoln County.
According to the Lincoln County District Attorney’s office the boy was found on July 18 after a concerned passerby called police to report something wasn’t right at the rural home approximately 3 miles north and 4 miles east of Meeker.
At the home, authorities found the boy to be suffering from severe malnutrition and close to death. First Assistant District Attorney Adam Panter says the boy had a large wound on his head, shotgun pellets in one of his legs and several broken bones.
The boy’s grandfather, Charlie Jones, says he had a feeling it was his grandson when he first heard of the case.
“Something just told me in the back of my mind, it’s my grandson,” he said.
#DEVELOPING: The grandfather of a teen found starving to death in a barn in Meeker calls the case “totally unnecessary.” He says he raised the boy and his little sister until DHS removed them from his custody 5 years ago. He has no idea where the sister is now. @OKCFOX pic.twitter.com/duFccRfvLs
— Emily Collins (@EmilyTVNews) July 19, 2018
A search warrant of the home on the residence found plenty of food and everyone living in the home were fed. Livestock on the farm were also well-fed. The boy was reportedly eating twigs and grass for food.
A neighbor recalls seeing the boy roaming the property but says there was never any indication he was being abused. He says the whole community is in shock, reports KFOR.
“It’s just real eye-opening, you know, that’s it’s this close to home,” said Zach Guy. “You never imagine it. You see it on TV, but you’re like, ‘oh yeah, that’s not going to be near me,’ and then you know it’s right there next to you.”
“From the outside, you would never suspect something was going on,” said Adam Panter, Lincoln County assistant district attorney.
The victim is recovering from his extensive injuries at O.U. Children’s Hospital.
Those who live in the small town find the allegations hard to believe.
“They seemed like normal people, nice,” said Zach Guy.
Investigators said the Jones family is far from nice.
Doctors told investigators they’re surprised the boy survived.
“A passerby saw a 15-year-old victim out in a field, and became concerned due to his appearance of his condition and called DHS,” Panter said.
The teen weighed only 80 pounds, and he didn’t even look 15.
“About a month ago, we were just working on the fence and a little boy came up. We thought he was an 8-year-old, really scrawny, real short, you know, barefoot,” Guy said.
Guy remembers seeing the victim again – this time, with injuries.
“Little while later, we saw him come up, bruise on his head. We thought maybe he got into an accident in the barn,” Guy said.
Investigators said the teen told them the head wound was from his dad. And, he never received medical attention.
“At one point, his father had pulled maggots out of him and superglue it shut, telling him that doctor’s were too expensive to take him to,” Panter said.
Panter said the teen told police more.
“He been shot by his dad with a shotgun with birdshot, and x-rays revealed he did have shotgun pellets still lodged in his leg,” Panter said.
Panter said the parents, step brothers and a 4-year-old girl lived in the home and appeared healthy and fed. He went on to say the animals were also well taken care of.
“He had to forage for his own food; he wasn’t allowed food from inside the house,” Panter said.
The victim was forced to eat twigs and grass and sleep on an old, ratty couch. He had one book in the barn as his only means of entertainment.
“The doctors at O.U. Children’s Hospital, after treating him and testing him and evaluating him, determined that, have he not been found, he would have been dead of starvation within a week,” Panter said.
The teen was pulled out of school two years ago; investigators believe that’s when the abuse started.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 6th, 2018