Overcoming: Event today could help abuse victim gain a normal life
by Tom Spigolon
tspigolon@cherokeetribune.com
November 09, 2012 11:59 PM | 1243 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Karen Pace shows posters advertising the Saturday fundraiser for abuse victim Mitch Comer at Taylor Farm Park. <br>Staff / Joe Livingston
Karen Pace shows posters advertising the Saturday fundraiser for abuse victim Mitch Comer at Taylor Farm Park.
Staff / Joe Livingston
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Karen Pace recalled her shock at hearing the news — an 18-year-old near her son’s age reportedly had been kept locked in his room for four years by his Paulding County parents.

“It was right here where I live,” she recalled. “I felt like somebody had reached inside my chest and squeezed my heart. It was heartbreaking … I just couldn’t believe it.”

She posted information on Facebook, which ultimately led to organization of a community fund-raiser for Comer today, in south Paulding County.

The event, featuring vendors, food, live entertainment, a raffle and a live auction to support Mitch’s recovery, is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Taylor Farm Park at 1380 Pine Valley Road in Powder Springs.

The 5-foot-1, 87-pound boy was found in a Los Angeles, Calif., bus station in early September. He reportedly told police his stepfather drove him to Mississippi, gave him $200, a bus ticket and a list of homeless shelters in Los Angeles.

Paulding County sheriff’s deputies subsequently arrested stepfather Paul Comer and mother Sheila Comer and accused them of abusing Mitch. A Paulding grand jury on Oct. 22 handed down an indictment against the pair, charging them with seven counts of cruelty to children, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of kidnapping.

Mitch Comer has since gained weight and is living with a Paulding family that volunteered to take him in, Pace said.

Pace, an Acworth office manager, said options are limited for Comer because of his age. He is too old to be eligible for services normally available to juveniles, she noted.

Comer reportedly had not attended school since the eighth grade, and Pace said she is working to find a private school that can help lift him from his special circumstances.

“His needs will be substantial and long-term,” she said. “He wants to go to school. We have to find a private school with special resources.”

Dallas-based Hardy Automotive Group gave an undisclosed contribution to the “Mitch OverComer Fund” at Wells Fargo Bank. It also is sponsoring a raffle that could provide a $10,000 prize to the winner and $10,000 to the Comer fund.

Brad Wilson, general sales manager for Hardy, said the company is donating the money to the fund because, “something like this is just tragic.”

“To hear of something like this is bad, but to hear about it in your own backyard is just devastating,” he said.

“We’d like to do as much as we can,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if he’s never done business with us, or his family. This guy obviously needs all the help he can get.”
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