DeKalb County

Police: DeKalb couple locked kids in basement, fed them once a day for almost a year

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A family member is defending a couple accused of abusing two young boys inside a DeKalb County house.

Police said the boys were locked in a basement and fed only once a day for one year.

“They’re a piece of trash, that’s what they are, to do that to kids,” neighbor Tim Webster said about the couple, who police have identified as Tamara McGowan and Thomas Young.

The duo was arrested for allegedly physically and sexually abusing McGowan's two young sons.

As a father himself, Webster told Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez that he cannot fathom how someone could mistreat the boys.

“Just pure scum,” Webster said. “No child deserves that, I’m sorry.”

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said that the couple was arrested at a Walmart parking lot Wednesday and that they abused the two victims for nearly a year.

Court documents obtained by Jaquez say McGowan and Young allegedly locked her boys in the basement of their home along North Hairston Road for hours, only feeding them noodles once a day for about 11 months -- between June 2017 and April of this year.


When Jaquez went to the home to try to get some answers, the homeowner said his nephew is innocent and pointed the finger at McGowan and the victims.

“Listen to me, those kids are bad, those boys,” Young’s uncle Arthur Lee Dyers said.

“Sir, with all due respect, this is about child abuse,” Jaquez said to Dyers.

“Child abuse? What did he do?” Dyers answered. “That’s a damn lie. They’ve never been in my basement.”

Investigators also alleged that the duo exposed the kids to drug use and sexual activity, and attempted to have the children participate.

They’re both charged with first-degree child cruelty for depriving necessary sustenance, first-degree child cruelty for excessive physical or mental pain and second-degree child cruelty for excessive physical or mental pain, according to DeKalb County Jail records.

Young faces an additional charge of criminal attempted sodomy, and McGowan faces simple assault charges, jail records show. They were both denied bond.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this article.