'Being locked in a room is dehumanizing': Boy kept in 8x8 garage box testifies in adoptive dad's trial

‘Being locked in a room is dehumanizing’: Boy kept in 8×8 garage box testifies in adoptive dad’s trial

(As originally published with additional photos and videos, Wed, October 4th 2023, 11:06 PM EDT; reporter’s first article here)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — A long-awaited moment took place in the trial of the Florida man accused of keeping his adoptive son locked in an 8×8-foot box in the family’s garage.

For an hour and a half, the young victim in the case testified and it was the first time he spoke publicly about his life.

”To me, being locked in a room is dehumanizing,” said the boy, now 16. News organizations are not naming the minor, to protect his identity.

UPDATE, Thursday, Oct. 5: “Jury watches hours of ‘boy in the box’ video in our first look inside: ‘You wanna take this to the next level? Let’s go!'”

The boy was kept in the box, which locked from the outside. Also, the light was controlled from the outside. Inside, there were no windows.

”The bed had no frame and no box spring. It was just a mattress on the floor,” the boy explained.

'Being locked in a room is dehumanizing': Boy kept in 8x8 garage box testifies in adoptive dad's trial
Timothy Ferriter is charged with false imprisonment and child neglect, Oct. 4, 2023. (WPEC)

He added, his parents often denied him food and water. They left him in the box for hours and only let him out for school and household chores.

The place had a bucket to use as a bathroom and a camera to watch him from the outside.

Police learned about his living conditions when he ran away from home in January 2022. That was about six weeks after Timothy and Tracy Ferriter and their children returned from living in Arizona.

The boy testified the box was built before the family arrived, and that he lived in similar conditions out west. He was just 11 when his parents built the first box, he said.

He said Timothy Ferriter was the one who enforced the “rules.”

When cross-examined by his father’s lawyer, the boy called keeping him in the box “a mistake,” and that triggered an emotional response from his mother, Tracy Ferriter, who will be tried separately. Each is charged with false imprisonment and child neglect.

”I believe they weren’t trying to do any harm. I believe that people should recognize that that was a mistake and forgive them and move on,” the teen said.

The boy also admitted his parents locked him away in response to his own behavior. He admitted to stealing, hacking into school computers, and trying to give his four-year-old brother beer to see if it was bad for him.

“It looks like a couple of times you’re kind of doing things, and regardless of what you’re doing, you’re not stopping. Is that fair to say?” asked lawyer Prya Murad.

“Yes,” the boy replied.

One of his three siblings, a sister who was also adopted, got on the stand and confirmed much of what the boy said about his treatment and living conditions.

Before Wednesday’s testimony wrapped, the jury of six, plus three alternates, saw several videos from inside the garage. Scenes they watched included Timothy Ferriter installing the camera, his interactions with the boy, and what the boy did when he was left alone inside.

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