dnt ga child in basement _00004414.jpg
Cops: Child locked in athlete's basement
01:23 - Source: WSB

Story highlights

Police: Recardo and Therian Wimbush in custody

They're accused of locking their 13-year-old son in a small basement room

Police: "He was essentially being treated as a prisoner"

Their parents are charged with child cruelty, false imprisonment

CNN  — 

A Georgia couple accused of locking their 13-year-old son in a small basement room with nothing but a mattress, a box spring and a bucket for a toilet have turned themselves in, police said.

Recardo and Therian Wimbush reported to authorities early Friday evening, Gwinnett County Police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said.

They were in custody at the Gwinnett County Detention Center, according to Smith.

Authorities had detailed the case against the Wimbushes a day earlier, indicating that they were expected to turn themselves in.

Recardo Wimbush and Therian Wimbush have been charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment.

State child protection workers went to the Wimbush home after receiving a tip and found the boy locked in an 8-by-6-foot room with no light bulb, books, toys or television, Smith said.

The boy had been confined to the room about two years and locked inside since January 2013, according to the police spokesman.

“He was essentially being treated as a prisoner would be treated,” Smith said Thursday, according to CNN affiliate WSB. “The window had been painted over. There was no light bulb outside. What was inside was a bucket that the child was using as a bathroom, a mattress and box spring.”

Police indicated that the parents kept the child in this state for “disciplinary reasons.”

Recardo Wimbush, 33, and 37-year-old Therian Wimbush – both of Buford, Georgia – have been charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment.

Recardo Wimbush was a star football player at Georgia Tech from 1999 to 2002. A linebacker, he signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons but was cut before the season started.

The 13-year-old child and his nine siblings appeared to be in good health and showed no outward signs of physical abuse or malnutrition, Smith said. The parents would bring food downstairs to the boy when the rest of the family had meals, Smith said.

The Georgia Division of Family and Child Services took the 10 children – the youngest, 18 months – into custody. The boy is the oldest.

CNN reached out Thursday and earlier Friday to the Wimbushes. There was no response.