NBCPhiladelphia.com - Rosemary Connors
A 12-year old Delaware boy escaped an alleged house of horror. Police say he was held captive by his parents, locked in a room and starved. NBC10's Rosemary Connors talked to the woman who called 9-1-1 when he got away.
"Talking to this kid and just listening to his story -- it's a bad movie."
That's how the woman who discovered a malnourished, bruised and barefoot boy described the alleged psychological horror the 12-year-old Newark boy endured looked in a room with no bed for three months in his parents' house.
"He was so tiny you wouldn't even be able to tell his age," said Melissa Feraro-Walsh who found boy on her doorstep Tuesday night.
The boy's parents, Robert Hohn, 41, and Shannon Watterson, 39, were arrested after police say they locked their son in his room for three months, only allowing him to leave briefly to use the bathroom and for a brief meal.
Police say the boy escaped from the home on the 100 block of Brookside Boulevard in Newark and ran to Feraro-Walsh's house for help. The boy, who was reportedly being homeschooled this year, used to go to school with Feraro-Walsh's son.
The neighbor called police and said the child was not wearing shoes, had bruises on his face and appeared to be malnourished. Detectives say the boy's food intake was restricted putting him 20 pounds below medically accepted levels for his age.
After checking out the home, police discovered the window of the boy's room was screwed shut, the door handle was put on backwards and there was no furniture inside the room except a lamp.
The boy is being treated at A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children. His recovery includes caring for his feet, which were hurt during his mile-long journey and trying to get his weight back up.
Police say three other children, ages 9, 10 and 14 were also living at the home but went to regular school and weren't harmed. The other kids were put in the custody of a family member.
Hohn and Watterson were both charged with felony child abuse and several counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Both failed to post bail and remained behind bars Thursday night.