Man arrested for 'caging, starving' 13-year-old son

A Florida man has been arrested for the "malicious punishment" of his 13-year-old son, who was so emaciated when he was found locked inside a bathroom that he only weighed only 18 kilos, authorities said.

"His appearance was severely emaciated and described by hospital staff as resembling images of concentration camp survivors," police in the central Florida town of Titusville said in a press release.

It said officers searched a house there after receiving a report about a child being unlawfully caged and abused, and found the boy locked in a bathroom lying on the floor.

"It was later determined that the child would be caged in a closet, strapped to a bed or locked in the bathroom for days or weeks at a time over the past year," the press release said.

The boy's father, 39-year-old Michael Marshall and his live-in girlfriend, Sharon Glass, arrived at the house while detectives were already inside.

They were arrested after confessing to "the caging and malicious punishment" of the boy, including denying him food and care, the police statement said.

It said the boy, one of five children living inside the house, weighed just 18 kilos and had been singled out for punishment for "stealing food after food was being withheld."

"This occurred over a period of time. We're still trying to narrow down what the time frame is," Corporal Gary Boyer of the Titusville Police Department told reporters.

"I believe (it was) over a couple of months, possibly a little bit longer," he said.