Malnourished Georgia 18-year-old still had baby teeth, detective says

Paul and Sheila Comer appear in court during a hearing in Dallas, Ga., Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. The Comers are accused of locking their teenaged son in a bedroom with little food for years. The Comers were arrested last month and accused of abusing 18-year-old Mitch Comer. He weighed 87 pounds when he was found in Los Angeles. (AP (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore
Paul and Sheila Comer appear in court during a hearing in Dallas, Ga.
AP Photo/John Bazemore

(CBS/AP) DALLAS, Ga. - An 18-year-old male who was released from his Georgia house after being confined to a bedroom for years without sunlight was so malnourished that he still had his baby teeth, a sheriff's detective testified Thursday.

"I thought he was a 12-year-old boy," said Detective Kevin Morgan with the Paulding County Sheriff's Office.

Morgan said Mitch Comer stood 5 feet, 1 inch and weighed 87 pounds when he was found in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 11. The teen's skin was translucent, and he told investigators he hadn't seen the sun in two years.

Mitch's stepfather, Paul Comer, and mother, Sheila Comer, were arrested last month and charged with cruelty to children and false imprisonment. They appeared in Paulding County Magistrate Court on Thursday for a probable cause hearing.

Mitch told investigators he was confined to a bathroom and a bedroom for years and wasn't fed often, occasionally getting soup or cereal but little of substance, Morgan said. 

Paul and Sheila Comer, who lived in the house for 14 months, told investigators that Mitch was confined to the room.

"They both conceded that that was his life," Morgan said.

Paul told investigators he brought Mitch food at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m. each day and fed him whatever the family was eating. The Comers' two daughters, who are 11 and 13, told investigators they heard him cry and scream for food often, Morgan said.

A retired police sergeant working security at a downtown Los Angeles bus station noticed Mitch on Sept. 11 of this year. Police decided to investigate further because the teen looked much younger than the 18 years he claimed, Los Angeles police said last month. The teen told authorities he suffered from years of abuse after being taken out of school in the eighth grade.

Mitch told authorities his stepfather gave him $200 and a list of homeless shelters before putting him on a bus to Los Angeles on his 18th birthday. Paul told investigators that Mitch wanted to be an actor.

Arrest warrants filed in Georgia say the Comers "made Mitch kneel on the floor, bend his head and place his forehead against the wall, and place his hands behind his head for long periods of time."

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Sept. 21, 2012 - Ga. couple accused of child cruelty after emaciated teen is found wandering L.A.