An Ocala man who told authorities, “I can’t put my life on hold for this kid,” was charged with child neglect for allegedly locking a boy in a room while he left the house.
A Marion County sheriff’s deputy responded Saturday to a residence on Hickory Trak, where a neighbor who wants to remain anonymous reported she was walking past the home and saw a boy asking for help. The victim told the deputy that Byron Terrance McIntyre, 41, locked him in the room before leaving for Kissimmee, according to the sheriff’s office report.
The victim said McIntyre doesn’t like him and locks him in the room for a few hours at time when he is gone. He said McIntyre locks the door leading to the house and puts screws in the sliding glass door track so he can’t leave. The victim admitted to running away because McIntyre calls him the “devil” and doesn’t want him, the report said.
The deputy and an investigator from the Department of Children and Families entered the back porch area where the victim was being kept. The sliding glass door was ajar and the victim showed them two screws along the door. The victim was able to remove the screws, but the door was extremely difficult to open because it had to be removed from the tracks, according to the report.
The deputy observed a room with a bed that was less than a foot from the sliding doors and took up most of the space in the room. There was a dresser with a 16-ounce water bottle that was half filled, which the victim said was the only water McIntyre gave him. The deputy also observed a bucket with a small amount of kitty litter and a half-used roll of toilet paper near the door. The victim said he has to use the bucket when he goes to the bathroom, the report said.
The deputy and DCF investigator tried to open the door to the main area of the house but it was locked from the inside. The victim said he doesn’t have access to food until McIntyre returns home. When asked how long McIntyre was gone, the victim said he didn’t know because he doesn’t have a clock or cell phone, according to the report.
The neighbor told the deputy and investigator she has seen the victim in the past with welts on his body and face. She said she has contacted DCF about it, the report said.
The investigator spoke with McIntyre about the conditions and environment the victim was left in, and he responded by saying, “I can’t put my life on hold for this kid.” McIntyre said the victim continually runs away and is a problem child. He says the victim is able to remove the screws and leave the residence if there is a problem, according to the report.
When asked if the victim was left with a cell phone for emergencies, McIntyre said no, and that the victim could go to a neighbor’s house. When asked where the victim was supposed to use the bathroom, McIntyre said he was to use the bucket. He said DCF told him it was OK to do that, the report said.
McIntyre was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released Sunday on $2,000 bond. He’s due to appear in Marion County Court on Dec. 17.