Florida couple charged after abused 8-year-old son sets mattress on fire in bid to escape locked room

SPRING HILL, Fla. — A Florida couple has been jailed after their 8-year-old son, who was kept locked up in a bedroom up to 12 hours a day, set his mattress on fire in an attempt to escape, court records show.

Daniel Andrew Davis, 37, and Kelley Lynne Davis, 36, of Spring Hill, are each charged with aggravated child abuse, according to Pasco County records. Each is being held in the Pasco County Jail on bail set at 50,000.

The couple has six children, ranging in age from an infant to a 10-year-old, Fox 13 in Tampa reported. All but the victim are girls and, according to court records, the girls “are not treated in the manner described.”

Investigators told the news station that the conditions in which the boy was forced to live were not fit for an animal. Court records indicate the abuse had been going on since at least March.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco described the couple as “pure evil.” According to detectives, Daniel Davis “freely admitted, without hesitation, that the dogs in the household had more freedom and better living conditions than the victim,” Fox 13 reported.

An arrest affidavit alleges that deputies and Pasco County Fire Rescue firefighters went to the family’s home Monday on a call of an arson in progress. When they arrived, they found that the boy had set his mattress on fire to escape the bedroom, which had no electricity.

The sole window in the room was also boarded up, keeping the boy in darkness.

“The locking doorknob lock mechanism was exterior of the door so the victim could not leave the room until he was let out,” the affidavit states. “Also, there was a chain slide lock affixed to the exterior top of the door.”

The Davises had also screwed a board across the door frame to keep the boy from being able to leave the room.

A ceiling fan in the room was broken and the fixture was missing all light bulbs, the court records show.

“Even if the fan had worked, the victim would not have been able to use it because the defendant and co-defendant turned off the power to just that room at the circuit breaker,” the affidavit states.

Read the entire affidavit below.

The boy was allowed only a mattress and a blanket, and his urine and feces covered the floor and wall.

Nocco told Fox 13 that the boy’s plight was brought to authorities attention, in part, thanks to one of his siblings.

“There was another sibling in the house that slipped a book of matches to the victim and the child took the matches to start the fire,” the sheriff told the news station.

When questioned, the parents admitted that they locked the boy in his room for 11 or 12 hours each night, as well as “when he misbehaves.”

“(The Davises) said the victim had to yell for them if he needed to use the bathroom and if they heard him, they would respond,” the affidavit states. “It should be noted that the defendant and co-defendant said the victim usually had defecated in his room by morning.”

All six of the couple’s children are in the custody of the state.