A former Georgia Tech football star and his wife allegedly imprisoned their son in a room in their Buford home for about two years. And they allegedly told police they did it for disciplinary reasons.
Recardo Wimbush Sr. 33, and his wife, Therian Cornelia Wimbush, 37, were charged with first-degree cruelty to children and false imprisonment, according to the Gwinnett County police. They are scheduled to surrender to police on Friday, officials said.
“The victim had been confined to the room for most of the past two years and a lock had been added to the victim’s room in January 2013,” police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said. “The victim had no access to books, toys, entertainment devices, or his siblings.”
The investigation began On June 15 when the Department of Family and Children Services received an anonymous complaint that the boy was being imprisoned in his family’s home.
Case workers responded to the home at 1924 Pierce Way and found that the boy confined to a small room, which locked from the outside, Smith said. The room in the basement contained a box spring and mattress with no bedding and a large plastic jar, which was apparently used as a toilet, he said.
“The parents stated the victim was confined for disciplinary reasons,” Smith said. Still, there were no signs of malnourishment or abuse and the victim appeared to be in generally good health along with his nine other siblings who were not confined.
DFCS required the lock to be removed from the door, but left the victim and his siblings in the custody of their parents.
A deprivation hearing was held last Thursday, which resulted in the victim and his nine siblings being placed into DFCS custody and the police department contacted.
The couple told a judge at the family court hearing that the 13-year-old was a threat to their other children. The arrest warrant said the child was “sent to the basement of the family house for the past two years in deplorable conditions due to being disobedient,” according to a media report.
Investigators executed a search warrant was executed at the home the same day; detectives found the victim’s room largely unchanged.
The investigation revealed the following: The victim had been confined to the room for almost two years and that a lock had been added to the victim’s room in January 2013, Smith said.
The room was dark, with no light bulb in its fixture and the “single window was painted white which let in a small amount of light during daylight hours,” Smith said.
The victim had no access to books, toys, entertainment devices, or his siblings, police said.
He was provided with food at normal meal times and was occasionally let out to use the bathroom, Smith said. But he did not attend school or any other activities during this time.
Wimbush, who grew up in Blakely, was a former Georgia Tech linebacker from 1999 to 2002 and was the team captain his senior year, the same year he was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He was a standout athlete not only for team records, but also because he pursued his degree at the university after his athletic eligibility ended. He earned it in 2010.
Wimbush signed with the Falcons in April 2003 as a free agent but was released after training camp.
The arrest shocked Wimbush’s former teammate Jeremy Muyres — who was a co-captain with Wimbush on the 2002 Tech team, the paper reported.
“The one thing I do know is Recardo’s one of the best guys I’ve ever been around,” said Muyres, a teacher and football coach at Norcross High School. “He was one of my favorite guys on the team, and, obviously, hearing about it, it’s shocking, but I don’t know all the details. None of us do yet.”