Deputies: Teen Beaten, Imprisoned 2 Years By Spring Hill Woman
By KYLE MARTIN |
SPRING HILL - Bruised, bleeding and battered, the teen struggled in the dark to free his wrists of the packing tape that bound them together.
With that accomplished, he removed the bungee cord looped around his neck and tested the bathroom door. His old tricks to escape were no match for the metal clamps that now bolted the door shut.
Hours passed. The slender teen, weakened by the beatings and nursing a broken arm, summoned his last ounce of strength and pushed the door off its hinges. In a flash, he clothed himself and bolted out the front door for help.
A neighbor called authorities. A deputy had trouble swallowing the story at first.
Then the teen was examined by a doctor.
"This kid has been through living hell," Sheriff Richard Nugent said Wednesday, relating the story.
The 16-year-old victim, who is not identified in reports, came from Taiwan when he was 4 years old. His adoptive mother, Tailing Gigliotti, is also from Taiwan, but it's unclear when she came to the United States or took custody of the victim.
Gigliotti moved to 13115 Whitmarsh St., south of Spring Hill Drive, about four years ago. Neighbors say her son was withdrawn and hesitant to talk with anyone.
Pat Guttman moved to the neighborhood about the same time. When her grandson tried to make friends with the victim, Gigliotti grabbed her son by the arm and dragged him inside.
"He's not like American children," Gigliotti said over her shoulder. "He always has to study."
When the kids at the bus stop tried to talk with the victim, he instantly distanced himself. He told them he was afraid his mom would see him talking with other children.
Guttman grew suspicious, but there was nothing she could prove.
"I always thought 'There's something going on at that house,'" Guttman said Wednesday.
On Monday, detectives heard from the victim exactly what that "something" was. According to an arrest report, the victim had not slept on a bed in three years. He was relegated to a sleeping bag in the hallway as punishment.
Then in November 2007, the victim was locked into a bathroom every time Gigliotti left the house, a report states. When the victim figured out a way to escape, the bathroom window was boarded up and metal "L" brackets bolted the door shut.
Why the teen didn't escape earlier, Nugent said, is because Taiwanese culture emphasizes subservience to adults, although certainly not to this extreme. The teen was also told that he was an illegal immigrant and would be deported if caught.
But there was a breaking point.
On Sunday, the teenager was made to strip naked and he was beaten with a 3-foot plank of wood and a metal-tipped water hose, an affidavit states. His arms were bound with packing tape and a bungee cord formed a noose around his neck. The power was turned off to the bathroom, leaving the teen in total darkness.
Somehow, the slender teen found the strength to break free of his bonds and tear the door off the hinges. He clothed himself and ran to a neighbor's house.
"He was that desperate," Nugent said.
Detectives secured a search warrant and said they found the plank of wood and hose, both stained with what appeared to be blood. Doctors said the teen was covered in fresh bruises and old scars and that his arm had been broken for nearly two weeks.
Gigliotti was arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment. She's since posted a $15,000 bond. Her live-in boyfriend, Anton Angelo, possibly faces charges, too, according to the sheriff's office.
The victim has been moved into protective custody with the state and is being treated for his injuries.
Nugent was appalled at the treatment of the victim, especially considering the family has five cats and two dogs that are well fed and cared for in the house.
"The punishment the law can impose pales as to what should happen to (the suspects)," he said.
Reporter Kyle Martin can be reached at 352-544-5271 or email@example.com.