In a heartfelt meeting in April 2017 on Dr. Phil’s show, Simon and Abba, who used to be known as the “caged kids,” were reunited after 10 years.
The teens had no idea they were about to come face to face with the man who was instrumental in saving them from their “cages,” where they were kept by their adoptive parents.
Along with their nine special-needs siblings, Simon was kept in brightly painted oversized wooden “chicken coops” in a house in Ohio and treated lower than animals by Michael and Sharen Gravelle.
Simon was adopted when he was 2, and Abba was adopted when she was a newborn.
Along with their young adoptive siblings, their “magical years” turned out to be an unfortunate nightmare.
The children were placed in a situation that can only be compared to a “living hell.”
On the show, Dr. Phil asks Simon what he would say to the man who blew the whistle on Michael and Sharen, which eventually led to their arrest and to the children’s rescue in 2005.
“I would give him the biggest hug ever and tell him that I love him,” Simon, 19, said.
Abba, now 20, sat next to her brother with tears streaming down her cheeks.
Dr. Phil told them, “he told us the same thing—that he ever got to meet the two of you he’d give you a big hug too, so now let’s see that happen!”
Jaws dropped when Simon and Abba saw Carlyle Smith, the man who saved them, walk onto the stage. They had never met him in their lives.
Immediately, they went up to him and embraced him with all the love in their hearts.
“There were a lot of tears from all three of us,” said Carlyle, reports the Norwalk Reflector. “They are wonderful kids.”
Abba cried and thanked him, and Simon kept saying “you saved my life, you saved my life.”
It was thanks to Carlyle that justice was served and the kids were saved.
At the time, he worked as a guide in helping young adults with special needs.
He had been to the Gravelles’ home and witnessed the abuse firsthand, after which he filed a complaint with Child Protection Services.
In 2003, the Gravelles were indicted for child abuse, and in 2005, their 11 adopted children were removed from the house.
Michael and Sharen were sentenced in February 2007.
“This is a real man right here,” said Simon, looking with admiration at Carlyle.
Dr. Phil asks Carlyle how it feels for him to see Simon and Abba.
Emotionally, he says, with reciprocating admiration: “It’s absolutely amazing. I am so proud of you guys.”
Watch the story in the video below: