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Confronting photos show the squalid room where two autistic boys lived

by Hermine Huntley (2020-06-21)

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Horrifying pictures showing two autistic teenage boys locked in a squalid room where they were later found starved and naked have come to light after their father was discovered dead in the same house. 

The brothers, aged 17 and 19, were found severely malnourished inside a locked room, in a house in Stafford in Brisbane's north.

Their 49-year-old father and carer was discovered dead in another room.

Daily Mail Australia understands the boys were both non-verbal, and their single father had cared for them alone for at least 13 years.  

Photographs taken by a neighbour show the room the two boys lived in before their eventual rescue.

Photographs taken by a neighbour show the two boys in the room they lived in before their eventual rescue after their father's death

The images show two boys, one on a mattress, in a locked room in a home in Brisbane

The pictures, taken on October 1, 2018, show the brothers when they were aged about 15 and 18, but they look much younger. 

A single air mattress, with no bedsheets or pillows, was also on the floor. 

The neighbour who took the photographs confirmed they were taken from the back staircase which led up to the window shown in the pictures. 

She spoke of what she saw that day to Gayle Smith, who lived down the road from the home and babysat the two boys when they were younger.

Ms Smith told Daily Mail Australia she hadn't seen the photographs herself, but expressed her concerns about the boys to their father, who had recently been told he didn't have long to live.

Gayle Smith, a concerned friend of the teens' father, arrived at the home on Thursday morning to check on the welfare of the family dog

Neighbours arrived at the home on Thursday to place flowers at the ground where the dad died

'I spoke to the father about the supposed photos, but he denied it.

He said ''of course I'm not doing anything like that'',' she said.

'I think he might've just been too ashamed to admit he couldn't look after them anymore.'

Ms Smith explained she believed the father was a victim, too. When you loved this article and you wish to receive much more information with regards to homes and businesses. 15-20 minute ETA for most areas we serve. i implore you to visit the web site.  

She said the single father should've been given more government support due to his health prognosis. 

Ms Smith explained her neighbour was 'not a monster' and loved his boys dearly.

'I'm just so sad that people are going to think the dad was a monster,' she said. 

The room's doorknob was snapped and a spoon had been put in the lock as a replacement

A locksmith who arrived on the scene on Thursday morning changed the locks to the front doors

While horrified to learn of the conditions the boys had been subjected to, Ms Smith said he 'clearly wasn't equipped' to handle them, and shared fond memories of him walking both sons to school and doting on them.

He bought a bull mastiff cross-breed puppy which the boys and he all 'adored' a few years back, and told Ms Smith the dog was great company for the kids.

On Thursday, she stopped by the home to check on the welfare of his dog, but the council had since removed him from the property.

Another neighbour said the living conditions for the boys had deteriorated in the last few years.

The resident, who chose to remain anonymous, told The Courier Mail they could 'hear them screaming nearly all the time because he'd lock them in that room.'  

A 49-year-old man died at the property in Stafford, in Brisbane 's north, on Wednesday, two teenagers were found locked in a room (Pictured: A note is pinned to the fence where the man died)

'They wouldn't be wearing clothes, only just loaded diapers if they were lucky,' the neighbour said.

'You'd sometimes look over and see them playing with their own faeces and pushing it through the mozzie screens.'

Complaints made to police and the Department of Child safety were 'ignored'.

Another neighbour told Daily Mail Australia the government had 'failed the family'.

'The bloody department needs a kick up the ass because they haven't been checking on him clearly.

If they were helping, this might not have happened.'

Both teens were rushed to Prince Charles Hospital following Wednesday's grim discovery, and police remain at the scene trying to investigate what exactly went on in the home. 

Officers are not treating Mr Barrett's death as suspicious, as it's believed he suffered from several medical conditions.  

The street, in Stafford, a northern suburb in Brisbane.

Modest homes line the street

They were first called to the home about 7am on Wednesday, and heard screams coming from the locked bedroom.   

Police were unable to comment further on the incident.

A locksmith who arrived on the scene on Thursday morning changed the locks to the front doors.  


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Well-wishers left a note pinned to the fence which read: 'We will miss you Pauly'. 

A blue Nissan X-Trail with a P-plate was seen parked in the driveway on Thursday. A newspaper remained in the letterbox.

A cardboard box, an old microwave, paint buckets and children's toys were seen sprawled at the front of the property.  

There were children's toys and a soccer ball on the property where the two teenagers were found locked in a room

Two teenagers with severe autism have been taken to hospital after they were found naked and malnourished in a locked a room (pictured: Police at the scene)

The discovery comes just days after toddler Willow Dunn was found dead inside her home at Cannon Hill - just 15km from Stafford. 

The four-year-old, who had Down Syndrome, allegedly starved to death. 

Police say her body was found malnourished and decomposing in her bed at her home in Brisbane on Monday, her face partially eaten by rats.

Her father, Mark James Dunn, 43, was charged with murder after he allegedly found the toddler dead on Saturday and didn't call emergency services.

Willow's body was allegedly found in a back bedroom inside the rented home on Bent Street in Cannon Hill, where she lived with her father, stepmother and stepsister.

Willow's stepmother and stepsister are not facing charges and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on their parts.

The siblings, aged 17 and 19, were discovered at the property (pictured) in Stafford, in Brisbane's north, on Wednesday after police responded to reports of a sudden death 

Police were called to the property at 7am on Wednesday.

While at the home emergency crews heard screaming coming from the locked bedroom

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