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Police: Runaway boy was locked in box

Monday, August 06, 2012

A nine-year-old Galveston boy ran away from home and may never have to go back. That's because he told police his parents locked him in a wooden box.

There are three pages of items seized from the home, and they are now being examined for evidence of what else may have happened in that house.

Bayou Homes Drive has changed a lot since Hurricane Ike. New people have moved in, including a family that rented a house last year. Two weeks ago, a nine-year-old boy who lived there ran away from home and neighbors say they now suspect why.

"I know why he ran away," said neighbor Thomas Johnston. "If they were doing me that way, I'd run away too."

The boy was quickly found by police, but he told officers his father and stepmother kept him in a box in the laundry room. According to the search warrant affidavit, the child's father showed officers the box in question and allegedly said he would sometimes lock his son inside it.

"According to the family, this was his room -- a six foot by eight foot structure," said Lt. Michael Grey with the Galveston Police Department.

There was more found in the house, according to the list of items taken -- crack pipes, computers and cameras. The affidavit states the boy told investigators his father took a nude picture of him and threatened to post it on a social media website. Now computer hard drives, cell phones and cameras are being examined.

Lt. Grey explained, "All the electronic devices have been taken to the Secret Service in Houston. They're the experts on forensic analysis, to check for any evidence of child pornography."

The boy is now in foster care. Police say he will never have to return to the house or this family again. But it still leaves the neighborhood stunned.

"I've got a seven-year-old granddaughter who lives here and it's just ridiculous what people do to children today," Johnston said. "It's just ridiculous."

The boy, his biological father and his stepmother are said to have moved and rented that house last October.

A custody hearing has been postponed until late September. We're told the family has requested mediation.

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galveston, local, deborah wrigley
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