DALLAS, GA. — A Georgia teen was so malnourished he still had his baby teeth at age 18 and was so isolated that his sisters who lived in the same home had no contact with him aside from hearing his screams, detectives testified Thursday.
The young man, Mitch Comer, stood 5-foot-1 and weighed 87 pounds when he raised the suspicion of a guard at a bus station in downtown Los Angeles last month. He said he was put on a bus by his stepfather, Paul Comer, on his 18th birthday with a few hundred dollars cash and a list of homeless shelters. Mitch Comer told detectives he was subjected to years of abuse after being taken out of school in eighth grade, confined to a bathroom and bedroom and shielded from sunlight for at least two years.
Detectives described their interviews with the teen and his family Thursday during a hearing that ended with Paul Comer and the teen’s mother, Sheila Comer, being denied bond. The teen’s two sisters, ages 11 and 13, thought he had brown hair but never saw him, said Paulding County Sheriff’s Detective Kyle Shelton.
Paulding County Magistrate Judge Martin Valbuena said he would consider releasing the Comers on bond after authorities investigate an assertion by prosecutors that the family had lived at 15 addresses in five states since the late 1990s.
Ex-security worker guilty of smuggling
ATLANTA — A former security worker has pleaded guilty in a plot to smuggle drugs through the Atlanta airport.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said the guilty plea was given by 26-year-old Timothy G. Gregory, a former Transportation Security Administration employee. Yates said Gregory tried to smuggle cocaine through security at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Yates said an undercover officer provided Gregory with five kilograms of fake cocaine and $5,000 in May. Gregory delivered the fake drugs through a TSA checkpoint to another undercover officer in the terminal.
Yates said Gregory agreed to transport another 10 kilograms of fake cocaine in August.
Gregory faces a maximum of life in prison and fines up to $10,000,000. Gregory’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 18.
Agency to add kids to Medicaid
COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s Medicaid agency announced Thursday that 65,000 children in the state’s poorest households will be automatically enrolled in the government insurance program by month’s end.
The state Department of Health and Human Services is enrolling children whose parents receive food assistance or welfare payments through the Department of Social Services, meaning their children are well under eligibility limits for Medicaid.
The agency is informing parents of the enrollment in letters, starting this week in Richland County. All 65,000 children should be signed up by month’s end.
Fix pledged for license glitch
COLUMBIA — South Carolina lawmakers said Thursday they will fix a glitch in a new law that apparently keeps some National Guard members from getting a special veteran’s designation on their driver’s licenses.
The original bill was intended to allow those who served honorably in the Armed Forces to have the word “veteran” inserted below their photo.
The designation helps veterans get discounts and other benefits from local businesses.
The law requires veterans to show the Department of Motor Vehicles the form known as a DD-214, a form National Guard members don’t get unless they are called to active duty or serve in a combat zone under a federal status.
Robert Jeter of Boiling Springs told the Herald Journal Journal of Spartanburg that when he took his NGB Form 22 to the DMV as a record of his National Guard service, he was told he needed the DD-214.