DALLAS, Ga. -
The Paulding County parents that kept their teenage son locked away in a darkened room for years will appear in a Dallas courtroom this morning and are expected to plead guilty.
A judge denied bond for Paul and Sheila Comer in October.
They were arrested after Mitch Comer, 18, was found September 11 wandering around a Los Angeles, California bus terminal. His stepfather, Paul, put him on a bus from Louisiana. He told authorities a horror story of being locked in his bedroom, barely fed and forced to kneel with his head against a wall for hours at a stretch.
“His siblings heard him crying and screaming for food in the bathroom,” Paulding Co. detective Kevin Morgan testified in court last fall.
When found, the 5-foot-1 Comer weighed just 87 pounds.
“This is one of the most vile and reprehensible acts the state has seen in a long time,” said Paulding County assistant DA Tom Cole.
During the Comers last court appearance, Judge Martin Valbuena said he was inclined to release the couple on $50,000 bond each, provided they wore ankle bracelet monitors and abided by geographic restrictions. But he was concerned about reports from Paulding County detectives that the family had moved 15 times through five states since the late 1990s.
Investigators believe the family left Cherokee County in 2009 after an investigation by the Department of Family and Children Services, even though that probe did not result in criminal charges.
Detective Kyle Shelton told the court Mitch is remembering more and more every day, writing down his recollections as they occur to him. But defense attorneys were quick to say they are leery of the young man’s story.
“The boy has made an outcry, saying he was abused,” said Paul Comer’s attorney, Scott Smith. “But there is certain evidence that doesn’t add up.”