Israeli police investigating why a 14 year-old was kept secluded and mostly indoors in his Hadera home said on Friday they no longer suspect the boy’s parents of abusing their child.
Israelis were shocked this week when police and municipal workers found the young adolescent in what has been dubbed by some Israeli media as one of the worst examples of child neglect in recent memory.
The teen was found when municipal officers were called to investigate a foul odour emanating from the home. Suspecting a decomposing corpse, police officers were called. With the front door of the home locked, officers entered through a window and fell upon the teen and his parents.
Inside officers found squalid living conditions. The walls and kitchen were stacked with what appeared to be boxes and piles of trash.
According the police’s initial investigation, the family was unknown to welfare services and the teen was not registered in any education system.
The family is thought to have moved to the region in 2009 and the teen is not known to speak Hebrew or speak at all.
Social service workers took the child into their care where he is undergoing medical examinations.
Police initially suspected the parents of abusing their child, but after a full day of interrogations, they said they do not think he was abused.
The parents, both in their 50s, said their child was naturally sickly and had acted out of concern for his health – shielding him from the outside world to protect against diseases.
They also said they never prevented their child from leaving the house.
Since their discovery, an elder daughter has spoken in defence of her parents, telling investigators she and her brother were never abused.
Doctors said the boy appears to be in relatively good physical and mental condition.
Officials said he will stay under supervision while municipal workers determine whether it is safe for the child to return with his parents.
The parents may face charges of child neglect as well as additional charges for failing to send their child to school.