Police still searching for couple who locked 7-year-old in coffin

October 4th, 2011 by | Permalink

A couple who allegedly locked a 7-year-old boy in a coffin in a bug-infested basement, and duct-taped him to a chair in their home to punish him, are still being sought after by police.

Clad only in a diaper, the young old boy was found on September 26, in the Scranton home, after neighbors heard the boy crying and called police for help.

“Are you here to help me?” the scared child asked as he hugged one of the Scranton officers who had rescued him, according to The Times-Tribune.

“I am hungry and I didn’t get dinner yet,” he said over and over again when asked why he was crying.  According to records filed, the boy stated he had been locked in the coffin and taped to a chair in the home which had been condemned by the city.

The boy led police to the basement where he showed them the coffin he was locked in.  Arrest reports stated the boy said the couple “often” punished him by putting him in the almost pitch black basement, and told him ghost lived there.  Adding they would “pick up chains and drop them to scare him.”

It is unclear how the boy is related to the couple, Lori Gardner, 26, and Brian Sleboda, 31, reported the New York Times; as of Friday, both have felony counts of endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful restraint.

“It’s a very sad case,” Chief Dan Duffy said. “That’s pretty much all I can say.” He

Scranton Police Photo of coffin where child was locked in for punishment.

confirmed that as of Monday night, the suspects were not in custody and the police were still searching for them.

Detective Vincent Uher filed a criminal complaint Friday which said the boy told them Mr. Sleboda put him in the coffin last Monday and locked it.  He went on to say that at times he could break out by pushing on it, so Sleboda would duct-tape the coffin to keep it shut.

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