Israel Police patrol car [File].
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
In a case that sent shockwaves across the nation, police said Thursday that they found a 14-year-old boy isolated in his parent’s ramshackle apartment, allegedly since birth.
Officers found the boy in a severe state of neglect after neighbors contacted the Hadera Municipality to complain of a stench emanating from an apartment on Shivtei Yisrael Street. Municipality workers and police then broke into the home through a window, expecting to find a corpse. Instead, they found the boy and his parents in an apartment filled with trash and debris.
The parents, in their 60s, were detained by police on suspicion of abuse and child neglect. The child was transferred to social services.
Following a full day of interrogations by police, Channel 2 reported that the parents said the boy suffered from medical problems and was not abused. He has two older sisters who do not live in the apartment who came in to speak on their parents’ behalf.
A preliminary investigation found that the parents moved to Hadera in 2009 without notifying the municipality that they had a son. Reports further indicated that the boy had been locked up since that time without leaving the apartment or attending school.
Police initially suspected the parents of abuse and, though he was severely neglected, following their investigation concluded the parents did not intend to harm the child and released them on probation.
They were allowed to see the boy, who is now undergoing extensive medical examination.
Photos circulated in Hebrew media show what is allegedly an outdoor cage built of scrap metals that the boy was permitted to use. Maariv reported that he was taken to Hadera’s Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, where he was found to be in generally good health.
Attorney Dan Gilad of the Public Defender’s Office told Maariv that the mother – whom he represents – claims to have acted in her son’s interest. “The mother is upset and in a difficult mental state.
She is worried about her son’s condition,” Gilad said.
Chico Vakhnin, a neighbor who spoke with Channel 2, described the scene when police arrived.
“I went to the back of the building and saw the boy in the room with the bars,” he said. “When the police came in, they saw the house full of mess and garbage. The police could not stand it. The social workers had tears in their eyes. The boy was really a zombie. This was the second time I had seen him. The first time I saw him was nine years ago and from then I didn’t see him.”
The Labor and Social Services Ministry said it is waiting for a full assessment of the boy’s physical and mental health in order to determine his condition, as well as examining the suitability of family members to care for him or finding other means to provide for his needs.