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Delaware parents accused of locking up son in bare room for 3 months

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A Delaware couple was arrested after police say the couple's 12-year-old son was physically abused and malnourished while locked in his room for months.

The boy's father and stepmom are accused of locking the boy in his room for three months, only allowing him to leave briefly to use the bathroom.


New Castle County police arrested Robert Hohn, 41, and Shannon Watterson, 39, Wednesday after police say the boy escaped from the home on the 100 block of Brookside Boulevard in Newark and ran to a neighbor's house for help.

The neighbor called police and said the child was not wearing shoes, had bruises on his face and appeared to be malnourished. Detectives say the boy's food intake was restricted putting him 20 pounds below medically accepted levels for his age.

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After checking out the home, police discovered the window of the boy's room was screwed shut, the door handle was put on backwards and there was no furniture inside the room except a lamp.

Police say three other children, ages 9, 10 and 14 were also living at the home.

The boy is being treated at A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children. The other kids are in the custody of a family member.

Hohn and Watterson were both charged with felony child abuse and several counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Both failed to post bail and remained behind bars Thursday afternoon.