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Fla. boy allegedly kept in locked closet

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - When Florida police checked out a child abuse report, they found an emaciated boy lying on the floor inside a locked bathroom at his home, apparently punished for stealing food. The boy was rushed to the hospital, where workers treated him for severe malnutrition and dehydration.

The 12-year-old boy’s father and his girlfriend have been charged with aggravated child abuse and child neglect. Two other children at the home have been removed as child welfare officials investigate.

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According to a police report, the boy - weighing just 40 pounds - was locked in a bathroom, strapped to a bed, or caged in a closet for days or weeks at a time over the past year.

Brevard County Jail records show Michael Marshall, 38, and Sharon Glass, 48, have been charged with three counts each of aggravated child abuse and three counts each of child neglect. A judge ordered both be held without bond. It was not immediately clear if they have a lawyer.

The Titusville Police Department received a report of a young child being unlawfully caged and abused, though the report doesn’t spell out whether there was a cage inside the closet.

Marshall is the father of the 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. Glass is the mother of the 5 year-old boy.

The two other children at the home were being seen by doctors, said Carrie Hoeppner, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

“No doubt that the younger two have been subjected to mental abuse,’’ Hoeppner said.

Welfare officials investigated neglect allegations and concerns about the home environment in the summer of 2010.

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