Imagine living life locked in a closet, deprived of food, medical care, even the use of a bathroom. Now imagine being a child or young teen suffering such child abuse and neglect. This tale emerged as police in Palm Beach County arrested a couple who kept their two children, now ages 12 and 17, locked up in a closet. No matter how much attention child advocates and foster child abuse attorneys try to focus on the harm and horrors inflicted on our children, the abuse and neglect continue.
In this case, police say the children would be locked in the closet in their Riviera Beach home for days on end, and nobody would notice they were missing. One child eventually was able to escape and reach a friend.
Police have arrested Quincy Hazel Sr., and Sabrina Golden-Hazel, both 44, accusing them of depriving the children of medical care and food for years. They’re accused of neglect of a child causing great bodily harm and both were in the Palm Beach County Jail on $100,000 bail. Still, police are unsure if the couple were the children’s parents.
Police say the boy has never been to school or a doctor. His teeth were missing or rotted. Police accused Golden-Hazel of striking the boy with an electrical cord. In police interviews, Golden-Hazel denies the accusations.
Not surprisingly, the boy called his life one of abuse and pain, locked in a lightless closet, eating scraps of food and using a bucket for a bathroom.
Even as Florida lawmakers and child advocates and foster child abuse attorneys make great strides in improving how at-risk children are cared for, episodes like these prove so much more remains to be done.
Someone must have seen these children over the years, and later noticed they had gone missing or quiet. Children like these mustn’t exist in the shadows or periphery of society. We have to do a better job keeping track of at-risk kids.
And if we see something that doesn’t seem right, we have to say something to make it better. According to news reports, these kids give a new definition to the term, “Closet cases.” We can do better. We must.