Dallas, GA – Paul and Sheila Comer have pled guilty to cruelty and false imprisonment of a child and were sentenced to 15 years in prison. They received an additional 15 years of probation.
Pleading guilty spared the likelihood of an imposed sentence of 100 years and a public trial where their three children would have been allowed to testify.
The Georgia couple admits to holding Sheila’s son, Mitch Comer, captive for at least three years in their Dallas home. During that time, the young man was starved down to nearly 87 pounds, even though he begged for food.
Upon Mitch’s 18th birthday, the Comer’s expelled the emaciated young man from their Paulding County home and told him to never return. The couple gave him a one-way bus ticket to California, a little cash, and homeless shelter pamphlets. They then purged any reminder of Mitch’s existence, throwing out childhood tokens and pictures.
Mitch was noticed by a retired police officer as the boy wandered around in downtown Los Angeles back in September. The officer thought the boy was closer to 12, being only slightly over five feet tall, and appeared sickly translucent and skeletal.
Mitch explained to the officer he’d not been in the sun for nearly two years and detailed the abuse he suffered at the hands of his step father and mother.
Mitch had been confined to a bathroom and bedroom and rarely fed for several years. He was made to kneel and place his forehead against a wall, hands behind his head for hours. Fixtures were removed, preventing Mitch from turning on the lights or water. Mitch claimed his step father had kicked and punched him on occasion.
An investigation was launched and arrest warrants were issued for Paul Comer, 48, and Sheila Comer, 40. They were indicted in October and denied bond in November.
Conditional to the guilty plea, the Comer’s have willingly forfeited all of their remaining assets. They will be placed in a trust for their three children. Half of the money will go to Mitch, who has since been placed with a foster family. The remaining amount will be bequeathed to the other two siblings, the Comer’s younger daughters, who are also now in foster care.
According to authorities, the couple has not clarified what led to the selective and cruel abuse of Sheila’s son. The Comer’s had no prior criminal history but were the subject of a 2009 investigation by local authorities following an abuse allegation when the family lived in Cherokee County. The case was referred to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office but was later closed, and no charges were filed.
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