FL v. Timothy Ferriter: Boy in the Box Trial
By LAUREN SILVER and GRACE WONG
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Court TV) — A man is standing trial in Florida on charges he locked his adopted teenage son in a box in his garage for hours at a time.
Timothy Ferriter was indicted, along with his wife, Tracey Ferriter, in March 2022 on charges of aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment.
Though the couple was initially charged together, their cases were severed at Timothy’s request, citing comments his wife made to police when he was not present.
Police in Jupiter, Florida, began investigating the couple after their son was reported missing on Jan. 28, 2022. At the time, Tracey told police that the child, who was missing, had “run away from home on several occasions before” and told officers that her adopted son had several behavioral disorders.
Before the child’s disappearance, officers were contacted by a contractor, identified in court documents as “Jack,” who wanted to report that the couple had asked him to build an office in their garage. While he complied with their request, he noted that what they asked for was odd.
“The room was built as an 8-foot-by-8-foot space in the garage with its own ceiling and door. Jack further advised the door had a deadbolt lock and a knob only on the outside, no knob inside, so if someone were inside the office they would not be able to exit unless someone opened the door for them on the outside. Jack stated he was also instructed to build this space with electricity and install a window air conditioning unit as well as a camera in the ceiling.”
On Jan. 30, 2022, the child was still missing when police returned to the house to follow up. When police were given access to the house to look around, they noted toys in what was described as the children’s bedroom had toys that were for younger ages. When asked about the child in question, Tracey allegedly told police “there was a ‘structure’ the child had built” in the garage.
The officer described the room as having a small box spring and mattress with a sheet and pillow, a desk with a folding chair and a camera. “It should be noted the room was a plain white structure with no paint or color on the walls and appeared to be bare drywall. The floor was a bare garage floor with part of an indoor-outdoor rug covering it.”
On Jan. 31, 2022, the child’s school resource officer called Jupiter police officers after seeing the child on a security camera. When police spoke to the child he said described his room as “8×8” and said that his father gets aggressive and once slammed him against a wall by his neck and struck him in the face with an open hand. When officers asked further about the room in the garage, the child said that he was locked in the room for up to 16-18 hours, and that he was given a bucket to use as a bathroom, which he then had to dump in the backyard and clean. Officers said the child said he ate alone in his room, and was often given leftovers after the rest of the family ate. When asked why he left, the child said, “Because I feel like no one loves me.”
Officers said the child’s story was corroborated by thousands of videos found after serving a search warrant for the Ring device. In a motion filed on March 17, 2022, Ferriter accused police of illegally accessing data from his Google account via his underage children.
Among the evidence expected to be introduced at trial is evidence of Ferriter’s prior behavior in Arizona before the family moved to Florida. Prosecutors said that in the two to three years before the family moved, the child was moved out of the main house “into a small, windowless, room containing a bed separate from the rest of the family.”