A 14-year-old boy was held captive in a filthy home for eight years — and his parents put him in a cage on the rare occasions they brought him outside, police say.
According to the New York Post, police discovered the boy in a severely neglected home in Hadera, Israel, after environmental workers called to report what they believed was a dead body decaying in the building — due to the overwhelming stench.
Instead, police found a home stuffed with trash and filth and a teenage boy who had been held captive by his parents for most — if not all — of his life. But first, the boy’s parents pounced on the officers.
“The police knocked on the door and no one answered. They ultimately entered through the window,” city environmental chief Yitzhak Buzaglo reportedly told the Israeli Haaretz newspaper.
After the parents attacked the police, the officers subdued the couple — it is unclear how — and searched the home to find the boy. Police later learned that his parents, who moved to Hadera in 2009, had essentially hid the boy — they did not enroll him in any school or report his existence in any way.
According to the New York Post, the boy was wearing clothes that were to small for him when police found him.
“I’ve encountered a lot of stories. I’ve worked at city hall for 20 years, but I have never encountered such a thing,” Buzaglo told Haaretz.
“I barely managed to walk around the apartment because the entire floor was full of trash and boxes. I saw one double bed. I don’t know where the boy slept. There was no air in the home. They hadn’t opened the windows.”
According to Haaretz, the boy later told a social services worker that he usually shared the double bed with his parents and that they took him outside to the building courtyard about twice a month — while keeping him in a cage the whole time.
Below is a photo of the home:
שוחררו הוריו של הנער שהוחזק בדירה בחדרה: חשודים בהזנחה – ולא בהתעללות https://t.co/hrJySRLdEY
— Haaretz הארץ (@Haaretz) May 11, 2017
Social Affairs Ministry sources told Haaretz that the parents are believed to suffer from compulsive hoarding disorder.
The boy has reportedly been placed with child services.
An attorney for the mother claims she was trying to protect, not harm, the boy.
He told the newspaper that the mother told him “that she acted out of concern for her son, who suffers from medical problems, and that the boy was in fact receiving medical care.”