A Florida man was finally arrested after authorities discovered that he had handcuffed a boy in his care to a cage and refused to feed him.
According to Local 10 News, 32-year-old Robert Dersa II, of Palm Springs, is currently facing serious child abuse charges following the incident.
The Department of Children and Families have reportedly been working on the 12-year-old victim’s case since October, when authorities received chilling information that somebody had allegedly been abusing the boy.
Once a DCF investigator finally interviewed the terrified young boy, he reportedly told Officer Frank Ricciardi that Dersa "handcuffed him to the dog crate for over 12 hours because he went in the refrigerator without permission and drank some coffee creamer."
"The child reported that when he is handcuffed to the dog crate he is denied food and can't use the restroom," the report continued.
The boy also reportedly alleged that Dersa had smacked him with a “vacuum stick” in the past.
While the DCF investigator and Ricciardi eventually met with a woman in the home, she denied the abuse allegations, insisting that she always made the boy do simple yard work whenever he was punished.
In his report, Ricciardi noted that the unnamed woman "spoke poorly of the child."
"She stated that the child is sick and delusional and his behavior sucks," the report continued.
It wasn’t until investigators decided to search the home that they finally discovered a dog cage, "with two sets of handcuffs attached to the front of the cage."
The woman then told authorities that Dersa and the boy liked to “role play” with the cage and handcuffs.
According to authorities, reports of abuse involving the child in question date all the way back to 2013.
While speaking with police during an interview, Dersa complained that the boy "has been out of control" for several years now, and that he is a “mental case.”
When asked about the cages in the home, Dersa allegedly told police that he had two large iguanas, though he was unable to provide any evidence whatsoever that he owned iguanas.
Dersa later claimed that he actually used the handcuffs with his wife, but police say the boy’s earlier statements are “credible.”
“That was not with my son,” Dersa said of the cage and handcuffs in the bedroom. “It’s just something me and my wife like playing around with.”
After his arrest, Dersa once again reiterated that he thought he was being treated unfairly by authorities and the media.
"I never laid a hand on the boy," Dersa told WPBF, insisting that he always tried his best to take care of the child.
“He’s been in in-house counseling. He’s been with psychiatrists and therapists,” Dersa said of the boy, who is believed to be his son. “He’s a troubled mind.”
“He has a lot of mental illnesses and it’s unfortunate that the police will listen to someone that’s so troubled,” he added.
Although Dersa has since been released from jail, he is not allowed to contact his wife or son.
Meanwhile, the victim is said to be safe in a foster home at the moment.