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Mitch Comer's parents fight abuse charges, push for bond

11:23 AM, Nov 9, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Paul & Sheila Comer indicted for cruelty to children, other charges

Paul Matthew Comer and Sheila Marie Comer (Courtesy of Paulding County Sheriff)

 

DALLAS, Ga. -- The Paulding County parents accused of locking up their son and starving him will fight for bond Friday.

Paul and Sheila Comer have remained in jail since a grand jury passed down indictments in October.

RELATED | Paulding teen says parents locked him up for years
READ | Grand jury indictment document

The couple is accused of keeping son Mitch locked in a bedroom and practically starving him. When Mitch turned 18, prosecutors said Paul Comer put Mitch on a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles and gave him a list of homeless shelters. They said Mitch was told by Paul to never come home again.

Paul and Sheila Comer remain behind bars, denied bond, but maintain their innocence. Their attorneys had hoped to get the cruelty charges thrown out, arguing Mitch's parents were abusing Mitch, but trying to discipline a troubled child.

Officials said the 5-foot-1, 87-pound Mitch was taken out of school when he was in the 8th grade, and was so malnourished that he still had his baby teeth at 18.

Security guards who saw Mitch at a bus station in Los Angeles contacted authorities, who helped get him back to Georgia.

RELATED | Bond denied for Comers
PHOTOS | Mug Shots: See 'em to believe 'em

The grand jury indicted the Comers on seven counts of first-degree cruelty to children, two counts of false imprisonment and a single count of kidnapping.

Two of the charges target Mitch's stepfather, accusing him of kicking Mitch in the groin and punching him in the face. Mitch told investigators his parents starved him, forcing him to remain for hours each day with his head against a wall, confined to a room or bathroom.

"I want to give him a hug and I want to tell him that he's loved and that he will be cared for," says Karen Pace, a Paulding County resident now organizing a fundraiser to help Mitch.

Pace has never met the teen but was moved by his story and launched a Facebook page asking the community to help. She has worked closely with those caring for Mitch to figure out what he needs.

A family has temporarily taken Mitch in, but eventually he will need to step out on his own. That's where Pace says the community comes in.

"I can't just say, oh that's sad and tragic and walk away and not act on that," says Pace.

Pace says Mitch wants the chance to live the past four years again, this time in the community, not in a room. He wants to go to school, not to get his GED, but to earn a high school diploma.

"He wants to get up every day, he wants to go to school, he wants to interact with all those kids, he wants the classroom setting," Pace said.

Pace is trying to find a private school that can make that happen and businesses like Hardy Chevrolet to help sponsor the fundraiser in November.

"It's heartbreaking to think a guy missed that many years of his life and not able to learn, to go through school, void in his social life, the list goes on and on," says Brad Wilson, the dealership's GM.

Hardy Chevrolet has made a donation to the Mitch Over Comer Fund and will sponsor a game, giving contestants a chance to win $10,000.  If they succeed, the Over Comer Fund will also get a $10,000 boost.

The fundraiser will be held Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Taylor Farm Park in Powder Springs. The American Legion Post 111 is also hosting a ride that day.

Organizers say they still needs items to auction and of course, donations to his fund. They can be made at the park or at any Wells Fargo Branch under the name 'The Mitch Over Comer Fund.'

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