ERIE (CBS4) – When police officers searched the home of a 14-year-old who was found hiding under a neighbor’s porch in Erie, they found mice droppings on all surfaces and live mice running everywhere.
According to the Erie Police arrest affidavit for the teen’s mother, Amanda Jolliff, the boy told officers he was kept locked in his room for all but a few hours a day. When police searched the home, they found a chain lock fixed to the outside of a makeshift door made out of plywood and 2x4s.
The room was described by officers as very small and filled with junk and a soiled mattress with no sheets. There appeared to be a leak and hole in the ceiling.
The conditions were investigated after the teen boy was found hiding under his neighbor’s porch at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 27. The neighbors, Chad Buss and Debbie Shaffer, told police that Jolliff and her boyfriend, Richard Smith, had left for New York two weeks prior.
“It’s unbelieveable that this could actually be that serious,” said neighbor Debbie Shaffer. “He was locked in a room, no outlets, no light, boarded up windows.”
The teen was supposed to be with his father and sister, a 16-year-old, but they had vacated the residence and left the boy behind. The teen told officers his father had given him $5 before he left.
He told police had was taken out of school in 2008 and although registered as a home school student, he had not received any instruction.
According to the arrest affidavit, the boy was locked up most of the day, only let out to take care of his ducks, to clean and then eat dinner. He told police he only was fed one time a day, if then, a total of about 4 meals a week.
He said he usually only ate macaroni or spaghetti and never ate lunch or breakfast.
“They do love their mom, but they know how she was treating them wasn’t right,” said Shaffer. “I don’t like taking children away from their mom. He was very torn up.”
Jolliff, 36, told police she had locked up her son in his room, and instructed others living in the home to lock him up as well.
During a search of the home, police encountered an overpowering odor of animal urine and feces, along with live mice scurrying everywhere and mice droppings on all surfaces. Officers found that the refrigerator held little food and that the pantry did contain spaghetti noodles that were covered in mice droppings and had apparently been chewed on by mice.
One of the boy’s neighborhood friends described what he saw.
“She leaves all her food in there, she leaves trash in there, there’s mice everywhere, there’s mice poop everywhere,” said teen’s friend Devin Buss.
Jolliff told police her son was developmentally delayed. She said the lock was placed on the door because he had once run away and that he “used to irritate me really bad.”
Jolliff and Smith, 31, are jailed on charges of false imprisonment, child abuse and neglect.
Erie Police Lt. Lee Mathis said that officers had three previous contacts with the family. They include a 2007 incident in which a boy was mauled by a dog, but Mathis couldn’t comment on whether it was the same boy.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Read The Entire Arrest Affidavit