Police: Boy Locked In Filthy Room, Fed Sporadically

Boy's Mother, Her Boyfriend Face Charges

Police said a 14-year-old boy with mental problems was locked in a filthy room with boarded-up windows, fed sporadically and allowed out just three times a day.

The boy's mother and boyfriend were arrested last month after a neighbor in the mobile home park told police he found the frightened boy hiding under his porch.

The man's wife, Debbie Buss, told 7NEWS she offered the boy some food and the boy told her, "No. I’ve already eaten twice this week and I don’t need any more food."

The boy's mother and boyfriend were out of town for a week, according to Buss. When the mother returned, she didn't even ask where the children were.

Prosecutors said 36-year-old Amanda Jolliff faces misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment, child abuse and neglect. Her boyfriend, Richard Smith, 31, faces a felony charge of false imprisonment and misdemeanor charges of child abuse and neglect, prosecutors said.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said prosecutors are considering refiling felony charges against Jolliff.

The three live in a mobile home at 115 Briggs St. in Erie.

No phone number could be found for either. It wasn't clear whether they had attorneys.

Affidavit: Mice Droppings Found On Every Surface

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Jolliff told police the lock was placed on the boy's door because he once ran away and that she sometimes locked him in the room when she was upset with him or he was in trouble.

Others in the home locked the boy in the room as well, she told police, but it wasn't clear who the others were.

The boy and his sister were left in the care of a man who lived in a car outside the mother's trailer home for two weeks in September while Jolliff and Smith went to New York, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

How long the boy was allegedly in the room is unknown. Police say he told investigators he was pulled from public school for homeschooling in 2008 but received no instruction.

An Erie police officer described the boy as an "at-risk child" who "suffers from a mental disorder." Jolliff told investigators the boy was developmentally delayed, according to the affidavit. No other details were known.

"(The boy) stated he remains locked up for most of every day," the affidavit stated.

Usually he was allowed out of his room at 8 a.m. to take care of some ducks, then locked in his room again until 3 p.m., when he was let out to clean, the affidavit stated. He would be returned to his room until about 6:30-7 p.m., when he was let out for dinner, and he was then locked in his room until morning, the affidavit said.

"(The boy) told me he is only fed one meal a day, which is macaroni or spaghetti," the affidavit stated. "(He) stated he never gets breakfast or lunch and that he doesn't eat on some days."

The affidavit said that when police searched the trailer home, they found mice running rampant and mouse droppings on every surface in the kitchen and in the refrigerator. There was little or no food in the refrigerator, and a pantry contained boxes of spaghetti noodles, most of which were chewed open by mice. The trailer had an overpowering smell of animal urine and feces, the affidavit said.

The boy's bedroom was filled with junk and a soiled mattress with no sheets, and the door was plywood, the affidavit said.

Jolliff told police the home was not in such poor condition when she left for New York.

The Tribune reported the boy and his sister's current whereabouts couldn't be confirmed but neighbors said they were in the custody of child welfare authorities.

Jolliff and Smith were being held in the Weld County jail with bail set at $20,000 each. Jolliff's next court appearance is Oct. 27 and Smith's is Nov. 3.

Police Called To Home In 2007 After Dog Bit Boy

In 2007, police responded to the same address on a report that the family dog had bitten the same boy who was 9 at the time. The Labrador retriever was shot and killed after charging a police officer.

The boy had to have reconstructive surgery and required 1,800 stitches, according to Amanda Joliff.

Josh Jolliff suffered severe trauma to the right side of his face and ear, plus wounds on his shoulder and hands.

The family told 7NEWS that they didn't know what caused their beloved black Lab to turn on his best friend. They believed that the dog was angry because he had been chained up all day.

"I just thank God my son is here," Joliff said after the 2007 attack. "My son is doing well. I'm just glad the dog is gone."

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