A 14-year-old boy who looked “like a zombie in a horror film” has been freed by Israeli police – who believe he had been locked up at home since his birth. Social services in Hadera, north of Tel Aviv, alerted police after they were tipped off by a neighbour of the boy’s family.
The neighbour, Chiko Waknin, told army radio he had seen the boy gazing through a window looking “like a zombie”. “His eyes seemed to be saying, ‘Help me’, so I decided I had to do something,” he said, adding that the home was “dilapidated” and had an “unbearable smell”. The parents, said to be Russian speakers who know very little Hebrew, have been arrested and fought police when they tried to enter the property.
Inside they found a chaotic scene, full of clutter, bags and rubbish, with one officer apparently vomiting from the smell. Israeli media reported that the boy had told police he was allowed into the apartment’s caged courtyard twice a month with his parents’ supervision, mostly at night. An improvised cage made from clothes drying racks was found outside. It is believed the teenager may have been kept there at certain times.