Police in Pennsylvania have arrested the parents of a 7-year-old boy, who was forced to wear a diaper and locked in a coffin in the basement.
According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, neighbors heard the boy crying and called the police. When the police arrived, the boy was wearing a diaper and was bound with tape. “Are you here to help me?” he asked the responding officer.
The boy told police that his mother and step father often locked him in the coffin or the basement as punishment. He said that they sometimes bound the coffin shut with duct tape and told him there were ghosts living in the basement.
The boy’s parents, Lori Gardner, 26, and stepfather Brian Sleboda, 31, were not around initially, but turned themselves in to police eight days after the boy was found and four days after the charges were formally filed. The child had to be questioned before they were arrested.
Gardner admitted to duct taping her son’s arms and legs and locking him in the coffin, but told police they were only playing a game.
Police found the coffin and a bug-infested broken toilet in the basement. The only light source in the room was a “Camel Exotic Blends” lighting hanging over a bar.
The house has been condemned for “unsafe for human habitation.” Authorities say an inspection revealed the home had electrical issues, fire damage and was infested with bugs.
Gardner and Sleboda were ordered taken to Lackawanna County Prison on Tuesday in lieu of $60,000 bail each.