12-year-old autistic boy found naked in yard, parents charged

James and Myra Thornhill


by RAD BERKY / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc


Posted on June 28, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 29 at 5:34 AM

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- A 12-year-old autistic boy was found wandering in his front yard Thursday morning with no clothes on.

His parents--James and Myra Thornhill, both 29--were charged with child neglect.

York County Sheriff's deputies took the boy back into the family's home on Elder Road and found what they called "deplorable conditions."

Deputies said they found the parents, along with an elderly person who was bed ridden and the boy's 7-year-old sister inside.

Investigators said the family was living in a house where there were animal urine stains and feces in rooms that were filled with piles of trash.

Some of the trash included used cat litter.

"It is amazing the awful things that happen," said neighbor Nick Bramblett, who was walking his dog past the house Thursday evening.

Neighbors said they never saw anything unusual around the house, which was empty and dark Thursday night. A strong odor could be smelled drifting out through an open window in the living room.

"Those people deserve what they got," said Brandon Moore, another neighbor and the father of a 4-month-old. "If you are going to take care of a child you should at least have the responsibility and the knowledge of what to do."

After deputies arrested the parents, they were jailed at the Moss Justice Center in York.

The Department of Social Services was notified and took custody of the boy and his younger sister.

Katisha Minton, another neighbor, stopped her car in front of the house Thursday and said, "I couldn't believe that in Rock Hill--that is a tight community--that children are being neglected and nobody knows about it."