Starving Teen Found in Bus Station Says Parents Kept Him Locked in Basement for Years

That's Criminal 16

locked doorHave you ever seen one of those "if you see something, say something" commercials? They've cropped up since 9/11, a reminder that if something feels "off," it probably is. I can't help thinking of them since I read the story of Mitch Comer, the Georgia teen who cops say was imprisoned by his mom and stepdad in the basement for the past four years, then exiled. When Mitch turned 18, cops say, his stepdad gave him a list of homeless shelters and put him on a cross-country bus.

The only reason we know any of this is because Mitch got lucky. A security guard at the bus station in California where this poor kid ended up took one look at this malnourished kid standing in front of him, and he called the cops.

I can't help wondering what would have happened if he didn't.

Mitch Comer was only 5'3", and he weighed just 97 pounds when he was found. And he's an 18-year-old guy! Cops say he didn't even know his home address back in Georgia. At 18! And when the police did track down his so-called parents (because, really, that word doesn't seem to fit here, does it?) to arrest them, they say Mitch's sisters couldn't quite remember their brother's hair color because it had been so long since they'd seen him.

Basically it sounds like this poor kid was being thrown to the wolves. He might be an "adult" under the eyes of the law, but he obviously wasn't equipped for the wide world out there. And $200, a bus ticket, and a list of homeless shelters aren't exactly "setting someone up for success."

So again, I wonder what would have happened if that eagle-eyed security guard had just brushed it off, figured "kids these days" are always doing weird things to their bodies or decided it wasn't his business to get involved. At best, Mitch would have likely been sucked into the streets. At worst, in that condition of malnutrition, who knows. Would he have died?

Mitch's mom and stepfather are now facing child abuse charges, and he's been sent back to Georgia, where I can only hope he gets some serious help. The security guard saved him, but he's got a long road ahead of him.

What do you think of the way these parents handled this? What should the punishment be here?


Image via Mrs Logic/Flickr

child abuse, crime


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Carol99 Carol99

Now this is abuse.  Photographing a kid in a tollet, while disgusting hardly qualifies as abuse next to this.

BTW, remember this the next time you want to impose a stepfather on your kids.  I had a bad stepfather.  My second husband turned out to be a bad stepfather and you hear bad stepfather stories all the time.  Be careful who you bring into your home.

nonmember avatar Nolee

My husband was sent back to NY to live with his real mother at 19 at only 5 foot and 50 lbs. His real dad and especially his step-mother beat and starved him for 10 years. She tried to drown him twice and molested him too. Social services in Arizona (and NY when he got here) would do nothing to help him- although he has been wheelchair-bound since age 7 d/t JRA he was born with. His real mother knew about it and left him down there to suffer until his dad was dying of cancer, even then it was a battle to get him here.

tammy... tammyc1106

those parents deserve to be locked up for life and everything they worked for given to him! What goes through people's heads when they do things like this? Hopefully this boy will get the help he needs to get healthy physically and psychologically and be on the road to recovery. And God bless the security guard who realized something was not right when he saw the young man and called the cops. Without him stepping in who knows what would have happened.

Sarah Ray

I see some excellent suggestions here. Thank goodness that guard made the call. My oldest is almost 13 now and I can already tell that having a teenager is going to be no fun, but I actually love my son. I can't imagine what kind of heartless bitch would allow her child to be locked up and starved. Whatever happens to these people it isn't enough. Sometimes I think that the people who do these kinds of things are to broken already to be allowed to live. There is no fixing that kind of lack of humanity. You can't give someone more humanity by locking them up. They were born without souls, just put them out of their misery.

Bott Bollius

I saw this story on the news and was horrified,even more so when I googled "starving teen" and found 3 more similar stories that are recent.the one boy died 4 days after being rescued.Put these people in prison on a bread and water,see how they like it.

nonmember avatar Laurie Maxwell

"Parents" who commit such severe abuse are not parents. "If you see something, say something" because years of abuse could have been prevented before he was forced to leave "home". It sounds like a sad story which, I hope, can be prevented in the future.

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