Parents locked teenage daughter in room for weeks at a time

Neil and Janet Farrell (via WSBTV.com)
Caption
Neil and Janet Farrell (via WSBTV.com)

Parents accused of abusing their 18-year-old daughter and imprisoning her in her room in their upscale home made an appearance in a courtroom in Pickens County, Georgia, Thursday morning.

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The courtroom was packed with supporters and family members of Neil and Janet Farrell.

A family friend of the Farrells called them a wonderful Christian family, but the state said their teenage daughter escaped her captors -- her own parents.

Lawyers for the Farrells asked that the bond hearing be put off for at least a couple of weeks.

They are charged with child cruelty for abuse that happened before their daughter turned 18 as well as false imprisonment. The alleged abuse happened for at least two years.

The Pickens County Sheriff's Office said the Farrells would keep their youngest daughter locked in her bedroom and keep watch using video and audio surveillance, keeping her there for days and weeks at a time.

Investigators said the parents would leave their daughter a bucket to relieve herself rather than letting her use the bathroom.

The Farrells' home, valued at nearly a half-million dollars, is in the exclusive gated Bent Tree community of Pickens County on an almost 2-acre wooded lot at the end of a dead-end street.

The sheriff’s office said she escaped Saturday as her parents reported her missing.

The teen walked 15 miles before finding help.

WSB-TV spoke with the woman who found the teenager on her doorstep, tired and thirsty from her journey.

"I said, 'Can I take you home?' 'Do you want to go home?' She said, 'No I don’t really have a home right now. I made a mistake, and I can’t go back,'" Kayla Burgess said.

After texting a friend, Burgess realized the girl on her front porch was the same girl authorities had been looking for, so she called deputies to her house.

“She didn’t cry until she came down on the steps and they said, ‘We’re going to take you back to the station and call your parents, and that’s when she started to cry, and now we all know why she was crying,” Burgess said.

Deputies said not only would the Farrells lock their daughter in her room, they would beat the soles of her feet with glue sticks.

"God will handle what's really coming to them, but I hope she finds peace," Burgess said.

Detectives are pouring through footage and said more charges are possible for the Farrells.

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