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Jupiter mom arrested for aggravated child abuse, false imprisonment was once Catholic school aide

Tracy Ferriter, 46, worked at All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter from 2014-17
Tracy Ferriter, 46, appears in a Palm Beach County courtroom on Feb. 9, 2022
Posted at 11:26 AM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 15:29:15-05

JUPITER, Fla. — A Jupiter mother accused of locking her 14-year-old son up on a daily basis inside a small structure in the family's garage was once a Catholic school aide, WPTV confirmed Thursday.

The Diocese of Palm Beach said Tracy Ferriter, 46, was an employee at All Saints Catholic School, located at 1759 Indian Creek Parkway in Jupiter, from March 2014 to June 2017.

During that time, Ferriter served as an aide.

"We pray for those affected by this situation, especially the children involved," said Jennifer Trefelner, the director of communications and development for the Diocese of Palm Beach, in a written statement to WPTV.

Tracy Ferriter, 46, appears in a Palm Beach County courtroom on Feb. 9, 2022
Tracy Ferriter, 46, appears in a Palm Beach County courtroom, Feb. 9, 2022, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Ferriter and her husband, Timothy, 46, are under arrest for aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment. They both bonded out of the Palm Beach County Jail around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The arrest reports for the couple did not list their current occupations.

RELATED: Jupiter couple may have locked 14-year-old son up because of 'reactive attachment disorder,' documents claim

Jupiter police said the Ferriters forced their 14-year-old adopted son to live in an 8-foot by 8-foot structure in the couple's garage — located at their home in the 200 block of Crane Point North in the Egret Landing community — since at least 2017.

The structure had a mattress, desk and chair, bucket for the teen to go to the bathroom, as well as a Ring camera mounted above the mattress.

The 14-year-old was able to attend school, but was locked up during the remainder of the day while at home, police said.

Egret Landing at Jupiter sign at night
The sign welcoming residents and visitors to Egret Landing at Jupiter is illuminated at night, Feb. 8, 2022, in Jupiter, Fla.

According to an arrest report, Tracy Ferriter told Jupiter police on Jan. 28 that her son "has several behavioral disorders" and had run away from home.

Officers eventually found the teen three days later on the campus of Independence Middle School in Jupiter. He told police his parents lock him in the structure "a lot," saying he was once locked in the room for up to 18 hours.

According to the report, when officers asked him why he ran away, he said "because I feel like no one loves me" and he did not feel safe at home.

The teen then pleaded with officers to arrest him, saying "he would rather be in prison than be back at home," the arrest report stated.

Police said a search warrant on the Ring camera uncovered thousands of videos which showed the teen being locked inside the structure every day.

Three other children who were living in the Ferriters home — the youngest of whom is 2 — were removed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The couple isn't allowed to have any contact with them unless it's authorized by DCF.