In an attempt to try and understand why a local teen was abused, including food deprivation and confinement, detectives with the Paulding County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have been interviewing family members.
Law enforcement officials recently traveled to Kentucky to meet with the stepfather, Paul Comer's family, according to a press release. The mother's family came to Paulding County to talk with authorities.
Mitch Comer was found by authorities Sept. 11 in a Greyhound bus station in Los Angeles. The 18-year-old, whom authorities said appeared to only be 12 or 13, weighed only 87 pounds and was just over 5 feet tall.
Comer told authorities that 48-year-old Paul Comer, had given him $200 and a list of homeless shelters, then put him on a bus in Jackson, Miss.
But the young Comer said his abuse spanned years and included confinement to his room and meals consisting of only small quantities of food. The teen also said he had been taken out of school in the eighth grade and had been forced to endure long hours in a disciplinary position—the top of his head against a wall, his fingers interlaced behind his head and his feet raised off the ground.
“We have corroborated some of the stories Mitch has told us,” Cpl. Ashley Henson with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier. “We have every reason to believe that what Mitch told us was accurate.”
Paul Comer and 39-year-old Sheila Marie Comer, Mitch Comer’s mother, each face six charges of cruelty to children and one charge of false imprisonment, according to PCSO records retrieved early Monday.
Mitch is living with a local family and gained 10 pounds last week, according to the sheriff's office.
Two sisters who lived in the house reported not seeing Mitch for two years. They are in the state's care and forensic interviews have been conducted by authorities.
A forensic interview is performed by someone who is specially trained in the many dynamics of child abuse. It is a fact finding mission to determine whether or not a child has been abused or seen abuse.
A forensic interview finds out the child’s reality about what happened to them using non-leading and age appropriate questions.
Forensic interviews sometimes require multiple sessions in order for Detectives to find out any information, if anything exists at all.
The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office continues to work in conjunction with the GBI and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on this case. Anyone with information on this case or is familiar with the Comer family is urged to contact the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Children Division at 770-445-6105.