An 8-year-old Prince William County boy is in protective custody after his adoptive parents were arrested and charged with felony child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Matthew Sweeney, 39, and his wife, Amy Kathleen Sweeney, 41, are accused of repeatedly abusing him.
A neighbor found the little boy just after midnight Wednesday after he knocked on their door looking for help.
The boy told Ron Kramer that he came to the house because the lights were on. Kramer said the boy was neatly dressed and was very articulate. He told the couple he was lost, but was not forth coming about where he came from. Kramer and his wife Barbara were worried and they invited the boy inside.
Kramer says while the boy ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, they called police. When his wife was talking to the boy, they noticed his severe bruises.
"He had bruises on this arm, and I think on his leg. It turned out later he had a lot of bruises on his chest," says Kramer.
The boy told Prince William County Police that he had escaped from his house in the 12900 block of Ness Hollow Court in Bristow where he had allegedly been repeatedly abused by his adoptive parents of five years, Matthew and Amy Sweeney. The couple reportedly adopted the boy from Russia.
Neighbors say the couple was quiet and that they and their seven children had lived in the rented house for about two years. They say they never saw the 8-year-old.
'You wish there was some sign or something that could lead you to help a child in distress or anyone in distress, but we didn't even know the child lived here," Peggy Hook says.
Matthew Sweeney is a U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander. Amy Sweeney is a stay-at-home mother who home-schooled her children.
Police say the Sweeneys' other children showed no signs of abuse, but they have also been removed from the home and are in protective custody.
Kramer says he can't understand how anyone could hurt a child. He just hopes what he and his wife did saved the little boy.
"I'm glad that we had the lights on. I'm glad that we answered the door," he says.
Amy Sweeney called police at about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday to report the little boy missing.
She and Mathew Sweeney are free until their next court date. Each posted a $20,000 bond.