Deputies said they found the boy had been hiding inside the home. After clearing the call, sheriff's deputies returned to the residence to investigate possible child abuse.
"The boy told deputies he has been handcuffed and forced to stand in a closet as a punishment," according to the sheriff's office. "The boy said this 'punishment' has been happening every day for about 16 hours a day for the past few weeks."
Detectives said John Hernandez, 41, admitted to handcuffing the boy and putting him in the closet from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. as a punishment for "behavioral issues."
Detectives said Natasha Dabbs, 37, told them she knew about the punishment but said she did not try to prevent it. Dabbs told investigators the punishment had been going on since December 25, 2020.