"This child was horribly treated out there," said the Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.
Living in a community means people tend to know who lives where, who their neighbors are, and all the necessary information needed to cohabitate. However, sometimes we can be fooled by the outer appearances of some.
The Davis family who lived in Spring Hill would have seemed normal to many, but the truth was beyond anyone's imagination. The neighbors were not only shocked that they kept their son in inhumane conditions, but also surprised by the fact that they even had a son in the first place.
The people around Daniel Andrew Davis, 37, and Kelley Lynne Davis, 36, believed that the couple had only five daughters. They have often seen the girls around the house but never the 8-year-old boy. How could they? The little boy was kept a prisoner in his own house by his parents, locked up in a room for up to 12 hours.
The boy had no access to the bathroom for long hours and had to relieve himself in the room itself. When the officials arrived at the house, the scene they witnessed would be imprinted in their heads forever. The walls were smeared with the little boy's feces with urine all over the floor. All he had was one mattress and a blanket.
The one window in the room was boarded up so you can imagine, there was neither airflow nor any light. The electricity was cut off with a circuit breaker. The boy remained there in the darkroom with no interaction with the outside world for hours. FOX 13 reported that though the boy was kept in such a pitiful way, his sisters in the house "are not treated in the manner described."
The unapologetic confessions of the father, Daniel, makes the entire ordeal sadder. He "freely admitted, without hesitation, that the dogs in the household had more freedom and better living conditions than the victim," as per the detectives. They also revealed that the boy was kept in the unhygienic room every time he misbehaved.
But the neglected and mistreated child had a strong will to live despite a lack of emotional support or a safe living environment. Thank god, his siblings had more compassion and wisdom than his cruel parents. One of his sisters came to his rescue. Calling the parents "pure evil," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco revealed, "There was another sibling in the house that slipped a book of matches to the victim and the child took the matches to start the fire," according to FOX 13 in Tampa Bay.
The fire had consumed the entire mattress by the time the team from the fire department arrived. “No matter how many times you look at something, just know the conditions are a million times worse, the smells, the bugs in the room," explained Nocco. He also said that the detectives had stepped in before but the kids were not able to articulate what was going on, probably due to the Stockholm syndrome.
Even though there had been many 911 calls made from the house, and even the neighbor reporting a boy coming in their garage searching for food, it's only after the mattress was set ablaze by the boy that the authorities noticed how bad the situation was. The deputies and Pasco County Fire Rescue discovered the boy from his destitute conditions.
Another twist was the fact that Sheriff Nocco referred to the couple as the boy's guardians, citing victim privacy laws that don't allow him to reveal the real relationship between the couple and the young boy. All of the children have been taken into protective custody. Daniel and Kelley Davis have been charged with aggravated child abuse.
"They seemed normal. You truly don’t know who your neighbors are," one of the neighbor's, Charles Clutter, told Tampa Bay Times. Although the parents were arrested on October 5, they were released on $10,000 bonds. Talking to New York Post, Nocco said, "This is heartbreaking. This child was horribly treated out there. And so, you know, as a law enforcement officer, they say be tough, be strong, I’ll tell you, this is one of those cases that just hearing about it, it will keep me up."