A 50-year-old man, Michael Garritson, turned himself in to Escondido police in relation to a case where an autistic man was abused - which was caught on surveillance video.
Two caregivers were caught on surveillance video abusing a non-verbal, 23-year-old man with severe autism in Valley Center hundreds of times over a three-week period in August, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Wednesday.
Deputies received reports of the abuse on Aug. 29 after family members alleged they had caught the caregivers abusing the victim, Jamie Oakley, on tape at the family's Valley Center residence on The Yellow Brick Road.
The Sheriff’s Department said the family had recently installed a video surveillance system in the victim’s bedroom prior to discovering the assaults.
More than 2,000 video recordings were reviewed by Sheriff’s Elder Abuse Detectives.
After watching the footage, detectives obtained arrest warrants for Valley Center resident Michael Garritson, 61, and San Diego resident Matthew McDuffie, 27.
Deputies said McDuffie was arrested Wednesday in connection with the alleged abuse case.
Garritson turned himself in to the Escondido Police Department later Wednesday night. A previous $1 million arrest warrant had been issued for the pair's arrest.
Both McDuffie and Garritson are scheduled to appear in court Friday.
According to detectives, the non-verbal victim with autism in this case had no ability to communicate to others that he was being abused by his caregivers.
Detectives said the suspects were employed by the victim’s family for more than two years, but the full extent of the abuse is unknown.
The victim’s parents, Mark and Kim Oakley, told NBC 7 they had placed cameras in Jamie’s room after they began noticing signs of abuse. After viewing the tapes, they were in utter disbelief.
“Let’s just say I was hysterical and crying and in shock. I think I am still in shock. It’s almost surreal,” said Kim. “It makes the whole world seem senseless, especially when these are paid professionals.”
Mark told NBC 7 he couldn’t believe the abuse was happening to his son under his own roof.
“In my own home, while I was sleeping, just below where my son stays with a nurse that we paid for, they were physically abusing him,” said Mark.
The family chose not to release the abuse videos to NBC 7, but did provide us with instructional home videos of Jamie and the family, just to show how the severity of their son’s autism.
The Oakleys said the cameras were up in their home for nearly a month and captured more than 2,000 images of McDuffie and Garritson abusing Jamie over and over again.
There are slaps, kicking, punches and a lot more. That’s all I can say. It’s not good,” explained Kim.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw,” said Mark. “It wasn’t just one time, it was dozens and dozens [of times].”
The parents hope justice prevails when McDuffie and Garritson are arraigned in court Friday.
“I was to see them go to prison and be held in a cell like they kept my son a prisoner,” said Kim.
The Oakleys said that in recent days, they have seen an uptake in Jamie’s behavior and he’s smiling again, after not smiling for quite some time.
Ed. Note: A previous version of this article stated suspect Michael Garritson was 50 years old. Garritson’s booking information was later released and confirms he is 61.