A 14-year-old boy testified that he was starved, neglected, tied up and abused by his father, 38-year-old Michael Marshall, and his live-in girlfriend, 49-year-old Sharon Glass. In March of 2012, the emaciated child was finally rescued from the Titusville, Fla. home and he testified at Glass' trial Wednesday.
The teen, who was 12 at the time of his rescue, said that Marshall met Glass in 2009, moved her into their home soon afterwards and how before long, he had begun calling her "mom." Then one day he was accused of stealing an iPod- he said under oath that he had not- but Glass wanted to punish him, threatening Marshall to leave if he didn't comply. Soon the boy was being punished worse and worse anytime something went missing.
For years, Marshall and Glass deprived the boy of food, feeding him only macaroni noodles, ramen or nothing at all. They locked him in a closet, tied him to a zipline in the bathroom or otherwise kept him restrained, according to ClickOrlando.com.
"I was constantly locked up," he said. No one would talk to him "unless they were telling me to be quiet, basically."
When the boy used to attend South Lake Elementary School in 2010, they reported his malnourishment and abuse to the Department for Children and Families multiple times. Nothing was done, and Marshall pulled him out of the school because he was receiving extra food.
"We tried, and we tried, and we begged," Ronda Rochon, the child's teacher, told Florida Today. "I honestly thought the next call that I got about him that he would be dead."
Even Glass' ex-husband Tony Glass said he called the DCF 12 separate times as the other two children in the house came down with lice and had other hygiene problems. At the time, the state organization said there wasn't enough evidence to do anything.
Paul Stout, a former roommate of the couple, reported the abuse. Stout said he found the boy in the master bedroom with sunken cheeks, nearly skeletal in his appearance.
"I gave him a hug and he just kept going and going and going until you felt his bones," he testified through tears. "When I felt that, I raised his shirt and he looked like a walking skeleton." Stout then told his girlfriend to call the police, who came to investigate.
At the time of the boy's rescue, he was 4'4" and 40 pounds.
Marshall and Glass are both facing charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect. Marshall's trial will begin later this month.