(WBIR-Dandridge) Investigators in Jefferson County said they believe a 7-year-old boy was tortured by his adoptive parents.
According to Sheriff Bud McCoig, Charles Sealock, 57, and Suzan Sealock, 51, were charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, and false imprisonment after the boy was found asking a nearby neighbor to trade a pine cone for food Saturday.
"Thank goodness the neighbors called and we were able to intervene," said McCoig. "Detective Taylor said this was the worst case of child abuse she has ever seen here."
The investigation, involving the Department of Children's Services, showed the boy was dirty and covered in cuts, bruises, and scars.
The boy at first told investigators he didn't have a home, then later said the Sealock's locked him a small bathroom for days at a time, and only gave him baby food to eat.
"This 7-year-old had been kept in a 3-by-4 room, small room, without any bedding. And there was actually a chest pushed up against the door so the boy couldn't escape from that room," said McCoig.
The child also said his mother steps on his toes, pinches him, and bites his fingers. He also said his mother and father had hit him in the head.
"They changed the lock to the small bathroom to lock from the outside so he couldn't get out," said McCoig. "When they took him back there, he told detectives he didn't live there. He didn't want to go back."
Two other adopted children in the home, a nine-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy, also showed signs of previous injuries. The Sealock's biological children, aged three and 14, did not show any signs of abuse. All of the children were removed from the home and placed in DCS custody.
Charles Sealock was also charged with assault on an officer and resisting arrest. McCoig said he did not want to cooperate with the investigation, and allegedly shut a door on the deputy and then pushed him.
Both suspects will be in court Tuesday. They've since been released from jail and could face additional charges.