Gwinnett County

Testimony begins in trial of couple accused of locking son in basement

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A child allegedly locked in a basement for nearly two years took the stand to testify against his parents Tuesday.

Both parents became emotional when two of their 10 children started to testify against them in court.

The prosecution believes their religious beliefs do not excuse the crimes they're accused of committing.

It was the first time since their arrest in 2014 that Recardo and Therien Wimbush saw the two children they're accused of abusing.

They could only see the children on a live video feed in court.

Prosecutors say the Wimbush parents locked their then 12-year-old son in a basement closet for at least 18 months as punishment.

The parents are representing themselves.

Therien Wimbush said her son had abused one of his nine other siblings.

“Was he forced to stay in a room?” Therien Wimbush asked her son.


“No, he wasn’t,” the boy answered.

The now 16-year-old boy testified he didn't shower and his parents fed him twice a day while he was in a closet locked from the outside.

“Could you get out if you wanted to? Wimbush asked the boy.

“No,” the boy answered.

Police found the child at the family's Buford home in June 2014.

A Department of Family and Children Services investigator testified that Therian Wimbush told her that her son could no longer be forgiven.

”According to her beliefs from the Old Testament, when someone commits a sin they should be separated, DFCS Detective Patricia Boone said.

Wimbush appeared to enjoy a chance to speak to her oldest son.

“It’s so good to see your face, and that voice,” Therian Wimbush said.

She suggested that she had asked him if he was ready to leave the basement and he that had said no.

“Do you know why you would have said no?” Therian Wimbush asked her son.

“Because I didn’t think that you wanted me back upstairs,” the son said.

Their now 10-year-old son also testified that he was never treated for the tumor on his stomach that developed into skin cancer.

Testimony resumes Wednesday.