Inside a 14-year-old’s 8×8 garage ‘room’ and the punishments he endured

Lawyer: Boy in box ‘fantasizes about killing people’

(As originally published with additional photos and video, Thu, February 10th 2022, 10:27 PM EST)

JUPITER, Fla. (CBS12) — The lawyer for the parents from Jupiter charged with keeping their 14-year-old adopted son in a box in their garage is telling her clients’ side of the story.

“There are a number of issues you do not know involving [the boy],” Nellie King wrote, “particularly since [the family] just moved back to Jupiter” after living in Arizona for four years.

She goes on to describe an unruly, out-of-control, destructive, cruel child who has been that way since he was two years old.

“There are numerous school records, photos, psychological and medical files, and police reports which serve to frame his account in an entirely different light. This documentation comes from multiple agencies and outlets in two states,” King claims in a letter written to the Jupiter police detective who wrote the arrest reports describing conditions in the garage in vivid detail, and an assistant state attorney.

Her job is to keep Tracy and Timothy Ferriter from being convicted by a jury. The letter appears to have been emailed on Monday. The parents were arrested the following day and have since bonded out of jail.

The defense she’s using — after about a two-week investigation and two days after the parents’ arrests — is an account of the teenager’s behavior over many years.

The Ferriters and the ‘boy in the box’ case:

According to their lawyer, there are “longstanding dangerous and disturbing propensities [the boy] has exhibited in multiple schools, neighborhoods, and homes towards other children and adults over the course of a number of years. There is documentation from teachers, school administrators, law enforcement, doctors, neighbors, and unknowing citizens who just happen to cross paths with [the boy].“

Parts of the lawyer’s letter are blocked out for privacy issues, just as the arrest reports were.

She said, “His behaviors and manipulation will not end with” being taken away and “placement decisions should be thoroughly considered before other minor children are housed with [him].”

She goes on to say other people’s safety — we believe the boy’s sisters — “has been jeopardized by [the boy’s] attacks, a number of which have resulted in serious injury to [one or more others]. And one instance, when he was quite a bit younger, [he] pushed [somebody else] so hard she fractured her shoulder.”

The lawyer continues making accusations against the boy, writing he got more violent and even vulgar.

“A few years after that, [the boy] again attacked [a female], pushing her face into a marble windowsill. She had to go to the hospital for her injuries. As the years went by, [the boy] tortured animals, yelled in class ‘the Holocaust was a good thing’ and ‘all immigrants are drug dealers.’ [The boy] searched disturbing ways for girls to die on school electronics and stole anything he could get his hands on, including numerous school tablets, money from another student’s house he entered after using a fake name, and money from the collection plate at church.”

Then she wrote as he “got older, his schemes got progressively more disturbing, more violent. He dropped a heavy wooden door on [someone], an early indication that [his] aggression would next turn towards [someone else]. By the time [somebody] was two, he was thrown off a bike by [the boy], causing facial injuries and more fear that [the boy] would continue to hurt schoolmates, strangers.”

What comes next could have readers wondering how the boy’s alleged behavior was allowed to continue for so many years.

“There have been referrals from schoolteachers too numerous to count and from multiple school districts. [The boy] has been sanctioned by school administrators for punching, cursing, stealing, destroying school property, putting a classmate against a wall while jabbing his finger and thumb into the boy’s windpipe, breaking and entering into school buildings, and lying constantly when he was caught by teachers for his misconduct,” the letter reads.

King kept going, now referring to the boy here in South Florida.

Inside a 14-year-old’s 8×8 garage ‘room’ and the punishments he endured
Timothy and Tracy Ferriter, charged with aggravated child abuse. (Palm Beach Co. Sheriff’s Office)

“Most recently, at Independence Middle School in Jupiter, last month, [the boy] started at his new school by impersonating a school evaluator, secretly recording other students, stealing phones, credit cards, and cash.

“[The boy] brings knives and weapons to school, draws pictures of guns and artillery fire, roams the house terrorizing others at night, and fantasizes about killing people. School authorities recognized [the boy’s] tendencies from a very young age. [His] targets have been many.“

King ends by offering to share material with law enforcement and prosecutors “to substantiate the patterns here,” as well as efforts to help the boy and protect his family.

The parents are due back in court on March 10.

For now, the defense is trying to show the punishments and protection used by the parents — whatever they were — were proper.

And the Florida Department of Children and Families has opened its own child protective investigation.

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