Updated:PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. —
A Paulding County couple accused of locking a teen boy in a bathroom and giving him little food has pleaded guilty in the case.
Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant was in a Paulding County courtroom Thursday when Paul and Sheila Comer pleaded guilty to four charges, including child cruelty and false imprisonment. They could spend up to 15 years in prison and 30 years on probation.
Last year, police said they found Sheila Comer’s 18-year-old son, Mitch, frail, disoriented and weighing less than 90 pounds at a bus station in downtown Los Angeles. Paulding County authorities then returned the teen to Georgia and placed him with a local family.
Deputies said Mitch Comer was locked in a bathroom and then, a bedroom inside the family’s Paulding County home for years with no access to medical care.
"The only water source he had was the toilet water (that) was in the tank of the toilet, and that's what he had to drink," prosecutor Dana Norman said in court.
After the hearing, District Attorney Dick Donovan told Diamant, “We have no idea why it happened. I don't know why God makes people that are mean like that. I don't think he makes people mean, but I don't know why there are mean people like that. I really don't.”
The Comers initially faced more charges, with Paul Comer facing a 180-year sentence and his wife facing a 140-year sentence, but the other charges were dropped. They are also now banned from contact with children under 18 without supervision.
Half of the couple’s assets will be given to Mitch Comer, and the other half will be split between their daughters. The girls have been placed in state monitored foster care.
The Paulding County District Attorney's Office has set up a fund for Mitch Comer at Westside Bank in Hiram. Checks made out to the Mitch Comer Fund can be sent to 280 Constitution Blvd, Dallas GA 30132 or dropped off at the bank.