Mitch Comer told police his stepfather in Georgia gave him $200 and a list of homeless shelters in Los Angeles before putting him on a bus to California on his 18th birthday.
When a security guard noticed Comer at a bus station on East 7th Street, he alerted authorities.
They thought he was 12 or 13 years old because he was so skinny. He only weighed 97 pounds, despite being 5 feet 3 inches tall.
“He’s very polite, very timid,” said Monica Moore, an investigator on the case. “It was surprising to me that he let us in.”
Comer said he had suffered four years of abuse in Paulding County, Georgia, after his step-dad took him out of school in the eighth grade, kept him locked in a room and wouldn’t let him leave.
Comer said he wasn’t fed enough food, had to assume a disciplinary position for eight hours every day, and had two sisters he was rarely allowed to see. He couldn’t even give his home address when he was found.
After Comer was discovered, Paul Matthew and Sheila Marie Comer were arrested on charges of child abuse and false imprisonment.
The two sisters are in state custody, and the FBI is now involved in the case.
“I am greatly relieved and thankful that one of our retired officers brought this victim to our attention and started the process to uncover these heartbreaking circumstances,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
“Without the intervention of retired Sergeant Gonzales, Mitch Comer and his young sisters would still be suffering,” he added.
Comer spent time in boarding and care facilities in Los Angeles before returning to Georgia.