Bond denied for couple suspected in Paulding Co. abuse case - New York News

Bond denied for couple suspected in Paulding Co. abuse case

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Shelia and Paul Comer appeared in Paulding County courtroom on Thursday to face cruelty to children and false imprisonment charges. Shelia and Paul Comer appeared in Paulding County courtroom on Thursday to face cruelty to children and false imprisonment charges.
The Comer's 18-year-old son told police he was locked in his room with little food for years. The Comer's 18-year-old son told police he was locked in his room with little food for years.
Shelia and Paul Comer Shelia and Paul Comer
DALLAS, Ga. -

A judge denied bond for the couple accused of locking their son in his room for years.

Investigators testified in a Paulding County courtroom during a probable cause hearing that Paul and Shelia Comer confined their son, Mitch, to his room for years. Mitch told investigators he was not allowed to leave his room even to use the bathroom. He said he had to beg his parents for any sort of food.

Authorities said that Mitch Comer was locked in a bathroom the first year and a bedroom the second.

"He's been locked in a room – no books, no phone, no TV, no computer, no notepad. He had to urinate on a mattress because he wasn't allowed to go to the bathroom," said Sgt. Kevin Morgan of the Paulding County Sheriff's Department.

Officials said that Paul Comer had confessed.

"He admitted everything. He justified by saying that it was punishment, but he admitted everything that Mitch had claimed," said Detective Kyle Shelton of the Paulding County Sheriff's Department.

The Comer's lawyer contests that Mitch exaggerated his living conditions. They say that there were no locks on the door and he could have left anytime. They said that Mitch wants to be an actor and made a lot of the information up.

Detectives said that Mitch had two disciplinary issues in Cherokee County schools when he was 14, and that Paul Comer told investigators that the teen had deviant sexual thoughts. Mitch Comer denied that allegation, Shelton said.

"The only thing that he said that Mitch would say that he wanted to have sex with his mom. And I asked Mitch that and Mitch totally denies it," said Shelton.

The Comers had asked the judge to be released from jail on bond. The judge denied that request, citing flight risk concerns. Prosecutors said that the family has had 15 addresses in five states.

Paul Comer's attorney, Scott Smith, said that the moves were related to work. Smith said that he believed the judge would give the couple a $50,000 bond after looking into the residences.

The bond issue will be revisited in two weeks.

Paulding County deputies arrested the couple following an investigation that started in California. A retired police officer working security at a bus station spotted the emaciated teen and started talking to him. Mitch eventually told police that on his 18th birthday, he was put on a cross-country bus by his father. He was $200 and a list of homeless shelters.

Mitch weighed 87 pounds when he returned to Paulding County who took over the investigation. Investigators said that Mitch still had baby teeth in his mouth. He said he had not been allowed out of his house even for school since he was in 8th grade.

Officials say their lack of contact with family members was just one way the Comers isolated them from the outside world. The family did not attend a church and have no family friends that they could find.

Family members told investigators that they believed there was some sort abuse going on in the Comer household.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office said they investigate the couple back in 2009 after their son claimed the couple made him get on his knees and rest his head against a wall with his hands behind him for hours at a time. The case was closed with the allegation considered unfounded.

The Comers' daughters, ages 11 and 13, were put into foster care following their arrest. Investigators say they have not yet determined if they were abused.

Officials say Mitch is with separate foster parents and his health is steadily improving. They report he has gained significant weight since returning back to Georgia.

Shelia and Paul Comer face six counts of cruelty to children and a single count of false imprisonment. Their lawyer has entered a not guilty plea on all seven charges.

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