Parents locked son, 13, in basement room for ‘disciplinary reasons,’ police say

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ATLANTA – Citing “disciplinary reasons,” a Georgia couple told authorities they locked their 13-year-old son in a small basement room with nothing but a mattress, a box spring and a bucket for a toilet, police said.

State child protection workers went to the home of Recardo and Therian Wimbush after receiving a tip and found the boy locked in an 8-by-6-foot room with no light bulb, books, toys or television, said Cpl. Jake Smith, spokesman for the Gwinnett County police.

“He was essentially being treated as a prisoner would be treated,” Smith said, according to CNN affiliate WSB. “The window had been painted over. There was no light bulb outside. What was inside was a bucket that the child was using as a bathroom, a mattress and box spring.”

Parents Recardo Wimbush, 33, and Therian Wimbush, 37, of Buford, Georgia, have been charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment.

Recardo Wimbush was a star football player at Georgia Tech from 1999 to 2002. A linebacker, he signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons but was cut before the season started.

The boy had been confined to the room about two years and locked inside since January 2013, Smith said.

He and his nine siblings appeared to be in good health and showed no outward signs of physical abuse or malnutrition, Smith said. The parents would bring food downstairs to the boy when the rest of the family had meals, Smith said.

The Georgia Division of Family and Child Services took the 10 children — the youngest, 18 months — into custody. The boy is the oldest.

At a deprivation hearing, the Wimbushes said the boy was put in the basement for “disciplinary reasons,” Smith said. WSB reported the boy said he was put in the basement room because he took the family DVD and lied about it.

CNN reached out Thursday to the Wimbushes as well as two lawyers who police said represented the couple. There was no immediate response.


  • johnny

    oh no he didn’t have tv.Not sending him to school was wrong and against the law but the rest,idk maybe little too harsh but hey better them then down the road we all have to pay for the state to house him the same way.Theres no right to light,tv and a certain size room unless you are in prison

    • Josh

      Wow, seriously? A little harsh? You think? 2 years without any human interaction except to have food brought to you? This is how serial killers are made. You are clearly not thinking about the long term effects this kind of discipline has on a developing human being. I seriously hope you do not ever breed if you actually think this way.

  • Russell

    That treatment is better than an a** whipping with a 1inch leather belt or a yardstick whipping that Mother Superior gave out in parochial school. Modern timeout. Don’t see no cruelty here. You social workers are NOT in the real world of things anyway.q

  • Moe

    I am floored that you think it’s better then an a** whipping. 2 years…locked in a room, a mattress and a bucket…no light, no human interaction…nothing…and you think that’s OK?? Are you serious right now?? Lord help us if you have children. YOU are not in the REAL WORLD OF THINGS dude!!!! Just wow!!!!!!!

  • misunderstood

    You f*cking sick twisted individuals. You don’t lock a child in any type of room. That was not discipline… that was cruelty. I wouldn’t even lock my dog in a room without any form of entertainment or interaction. He is 13 years old. This makes me sick. Your f*cking comments make me sick. The next time you run a red light or burn food on the stove maybe you should go sit in a cell for 2 years. I hope these so called parents rot in f*cking jail. And this is coming from a mother of a bi polar child who does nothing but create trouble. No matter what a child does, the important thing to remember is just that, its a child. Teach them properly and you will not have issues. Disgusted…. please excuse my language.

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