Florida boy, 13, found sleeping in front of grocery store; couple arrested for abuse, police say

Police: Boy found sleeping in front of grocery store; couple arrested for abuse

LARGO, Fla. — A Florida boy found sleeping in front of a grocery store in the middle of the night told police he was afraid to go home because he did not want to be hit anymore.

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On Oct. 21, the 13-year-old boy told police that Melanie Guy, also known as Melanie Anne Fulton Brown, regularly abused him, WTSP reported.

The boy told investigators that Guy would wake him between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. during the week and make him clean the house. If he fell asleep, he was forced to run in place for 15 minutes and would be beaten with a plastic back scratcher, WTSP reported.

Investigators went to the house and saw padlocks were on a freezer and refrigerator. A cabinet with food for the child also had a lock on it.

Guy, 36, told investigators the locks were there to keep the boy from eating all the food, WTSP reported.

When investigators opened the cabinet, bugs began to crawl out. Investigators noted the house was filled with thousands of cockroaches and piles of dog feces.

Larry Brown, 44, the woman’s husband, also participated in the abuse. Brown beat the boy with a leather belt and would withhold food as a punishment, police said.

The boy was taken to a hospital where staff found bruises, welts and other marks on his body, WTSP reported.

The couple was charged with child abuse and neglect.