Abused Child Locked in Boarded Up Room Set Mattress on Fire to Escape, Florida Police Say

A young child who had been locked in a boarded up room set fire to a mattress in a bid to escape, according to Florida authorities.

Detectives are remaining tight-lipped about details of the child but say the youngster started the blaze on Monday afternoon.

Fire rescue crews and police found the child when they responded to calls of an arson incident near Spring Hill.

Speaking to Fox 13, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco described the incident as "pure evil."

Police told the channel that a couple had been arrested and named them as 37-year-old Daniel Davis and 36-year-old Kelley Davis.

It is alleged that the duo told investigators the child was being punished for misbehaving and was therefore isolated for up to 12 hours a day.

Although the couple cared for six children aged from a baby to ten years old, police said one was the target of most of the abuse and had ended up setting the mattress alight in a bid to escape.

The media outlet said investigators had reported that the conditions inside the bedroom were not even fit for an animal, with only a blanket and a mattress inside the room and the child was expected to go to toilet on the floor.

Daniel Davis is alleged to have told detectives that "the dogs in the household had more freedom and better living conditions than the victim".

Nocco said: "Solitary confinement is much better treatment than what this child went through.

"As a father, as a human being, I don't understand how someone could do this."

The sheriff's office said the door and window of the room were boarded up but another child had helped the youngster by giving them matches.

Nocco said: "There was another sibling in the house that slipped a book of matches to the victim and the child took the matches to start the fire."

The mattress was in flames when fire crews arrived, however the fire couldn't get rid of the filth in which the child was allegedly living, the news channel reported.

Nocco added: "No matter how many times you look at something, just know the conditions are a million times worse, the smells, the bugs in the room."

Nocco said this was a case of Stockholm syndrome, a condition where the victim develops an emotional bond or alliance with their captor.

The sheriff revealed that although detectives had been called to the home before, none of the children were able to tell deputies what was going on inside the house.

Nocco said: "The child talked to a deputy but it would have never led them to believe anything suspicious was going on."

Door handle
File photograph of a child's hand on a door handle. Police have arrested two adults who allegedly kept a child locked in a room for 11 or 12 hours at a time. Getty

He cited victim privacy laws that prevented him from identifying the relationship between the child victim and the couple, referring to the couple as the child's guardians.

Detectives said the young child was locked inside a filthy boarded-up room without any electricity and was only able to escape when they set a mattress on fire and the fire department came. https://t.co/WGpBdTnUtu

— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) October 6, 2020

He referred to them as the child's guardians.

All of the children have been taken into protective custody and

Daniel and Kelley Davis have been charged with aggravated child abuse, reported the news channel.

Newsweek has contacted the sheriff's department and is awaiting a reply.