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Grandfather and Girlfriend Accused of Locking Up 9-Year-Old Boy in Urine-Soaked Room Constructed From Plywood

grandfather girlfriend arrested  year old boy urine room
Source: Highlands County Sheriff’s Office

May 4 2023, Published 4:06 p.m. ET

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A Florida grandfather and his live-in girlfriend were arrested after allegedly keeping a 9-year-old boy in a room with an “overwhelming smell of urine” that was built out of plywood, according to authorities.

On April 14, the grandson of Jack Young, 54, ran away from home and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said they launched a search.

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The boy was eventually found under a car in his neighbor’s yard and he was taken into custody by the Department of Children and Families.

Officials searched the boy’s home and noted his room was “filthy and had an ‘overwhelming’ smell of urine,” officials said. The room was also allegedly built out of plywood with holes “large enough to allow insects and rodents to enter.”

The boy’s bed had an “egg crate-style piece of thin foam with no pillows or blankets, and there were no toys or personal items of any kind in the room," according to authorities. The door to the bedroom was just a piece of plywood, which police said was “impossible for the boy to move when it was blocking the door.”

Authorities said they found dog kennels inside the living room of the home that were cleaner than the area where the child slept.

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Investigators talked with the boy, who claimed he was “often confined to his room –– with the piece of plywood screwed shut –– for periods of time that were so long he was forced to soil himself." He was only allowed to shower about once a week and would often shout at the security camera in his room to be let out, but would not get a response, according to investigators.

Police said the boy also alleged he endured physical abuse at the hands of his grandfather and legal guardian, Young, and he was denied food as a form of punishment.

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Two other children lived at the home, and they were taken into protective custody. Officials said the children “confirmed the boy’s statements about being locked into his room and physically abused.”

Young and his girlfriend, 34-year-old Ashlee Marshall, were arrested and they were each charged with one count of aggravated child abuse.

Their bonds were both set at $50,000.

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