A Paulding County couple, accused of locking their 18-year-old son in a bathroom and giving him little food for at least three years, pleaded guilty this morning.
Under an agreement with the state, 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, according to WSB-TV.
Neither offered any explanation for their actions.
The plea deal followed weeks of negotiations between the two sides, but ultimately was the solution to avoid a possible two-week trial, which would have required the couple’s children to testify, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After putting their son on a bus to California last year, the Paulding County couple got rid of any reminder of the boy. Baby shoes, school work and pictures were thrown away, ridding them of any reminder that Mitch Comer existed.
Last year, police said they found Mitch, frail and disoriented at a bus station in downtown Los Angeles.
Paulding County authorities then returned the teen to Georgia and placed him with a local family. The county district attorney said he was only 97 pounds when he was found.
Deputies said Mitch Comer was locked in a bathroom and then a bedroom inside the family’s rented home for years with no access to medical care.
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, according to WSB-TV.
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.