LONDON, Ont. — A 10-year-old boy rescued in urine-soaked pyjamas from a squalid bedroom where he had been confined for up to two years expressed hope, authorities say, that he can now attend school.
After receiving an anonymous tip, authorities discovered the boy in horrific conditions, locked in a bedroom of his aunt and uncle’s house in the southwestern Ontario city.
“There was a lot of garbage in the house,” London Police Insp. Kevin Heslop said at a news conference Friday.
“There was a lot of packaging from fast food outlets. In the bedroom specifically there was feces, urine, the bed was soaked in urine, as was the child’s pyjamas when the child was found and there was food waste throughout the house.”
The boy had been locked in the bedroom for at least 18 months, possibly as long as two years, Heslop said. He was typically fed twice a day, fast food that was left for him to eat, he said.
“The master bedroom had an ensuite bathroom so the child had access to a toilet and shower, however the room — in fact the entire house — was in squalid condition,” Heslop said.
The boy’s aunt and uncle have been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life and forcible confinement. Their names are not being released to protect the boy’s identity.
The boy was underweight, malnourished, confused and pale, Heslop said. He had been living with his aunt and uncle since 2010, when the boy came to Canada. Heslop would not say what country the boy came from, but his parents do not live in Canada and investigators have not yet been able to contact them, he said.
“I don’t know if they know,” Heslop said.
It doesn’t appear as though the boy went to school, he said.
His aunt and uncle also have a biological child, who the executive director of the local children’s aid society described as a nine-year-old girl. There is no evidence the couple’s biological child was ever locked in a room, Heslop said.
Both children were apprehended and taken into care, said Jane Fitzgerald, the executive director of the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex.
“We’re now just getting to know this boy,” she said.
“I think that we were happy to find out from him that some of the things that he wants to do right away is he wanted regular food and he said the one thing he really wants is to go to school. I think that’s a good sign. He wants to re-enter the world.”
Authorities got an anonymous tip from a community member, and Fitzgerald said it’s not an easy call to make, but it can save a child’s life.