|Frail Teen Cuffed to Basement Pole|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Feb 7, 2013, 10:27 AM|
A frail Missouri teen is in protective custody with a foster family today after being found handcuffed to a steel pole in a basement and claiming that he had been locked up since September. Police said they heard the terrified teen repeating, "I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything," upon hearing their footsteps on the wooden stairs to the basement.
Police in Kansas City, Mo., were dispatched to a home on Monday afternoon to check on a juvenile after a neighbor says she called a child abuse hotline about the teen.
When police arrived at the address, the door was answered by a woman who said she lived there with her husband and 17-year-old stepson.
None of the family members have been identified by police.
When asked where the teen was, the woman said he was downstairs sleeping in his room, according to a police report. The officers said they wanted to let the teen know they were there and the woman said she would go tell him. But the police asked her to stay upstairs while they went to see the boy.
"As P.O. Eickmann and I were walking down the wooden stairs into a dark basement, we heard a voice say, 'I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything,'" Officer Jonathan Stone wrote in his report.
"P.O. Eickmann identified us as the police as I turned on the lights," Stone wrote. "I then observed a thin frail looking male getting out of the fetal position on the concrete floor around a steal [sic] support pole."
The police said they calmed the teen, assured him they were there to help and removed the handcuffs. The boy immediately started rubbing his wrists, police said.
"The Vic [victim] was very thin for his height. His face was sunken in on the sides and his eyes had a look of desperation," the report said. "He was wearing dirty blue jeans, dirty long sleeved shirt and socks. He was shivering and he said he was very cold. He continuously asked for his jacket and shoes. He had only a few thin blankets to lay on and to cover up with as he slept on the cold concrete floor."
The teen told police he had been trapped in the basement since his father took him out of school in September 2012.
The boy said that at first he was just locked in the basement and not fed much, but that sometime in October he had managed to find a way out and get food, which angered someone identified only as "suspect 1" in the police report.
After that escape, the teen said suspect 1 handcuffed him to a bed in the basement. In November, the teen managed to take the bed apart and tried to use the rail to break open the door in order to get food, but he failed.
"This also made Sus1 mad, so Sus1 took the bed out of the basement and handcuffed the Vic's hands around the steal [sic] support pole that held the upper floor joists," the police report said. "This is where he has been ever since."
The teen also described his daily routine to authorities.
He said that at 4 a.m. suspect 1 would come downstairs to let him use the bathroom and eat one pack of instant oatmeal before locking him back up. At 3:30 p.m., suspect 1 would get home from work, let him use the bathroom, give him a packet of Ramen noodles and lock him up again. Some time in the evening, suspect 1 would make a last trip to the basement to give him two bologna sandwiches and a cup of water. He would then be locked up for the night.
Emaciated and Shivering Teen Found Chained to Pole in Basement
"While we were there at the residence, Sus1 and Sus3 arrived home," the police report said. "Sus3 made a comment that the Vic was locked down stairs because in December they had let him upstairs and he ate almost an entire bowl of fruit at one time."
The teenager was taken to a hospital for treatment and then placed in the custody of the Clay County Children's Division. A 2-year-old grandson living in the house was also taken away and placed in protective custody.
The neighbor, Crystal Anderson, who called the child abuse hotline told ABC News' Kansas City affiliate KMBC that she had seen the teen handcuffed to a door after going to the house to see his brother last month. Anderson said the boy's brother told her that he is "mentally challenged."
"He told me one time that they had to keep him chained up because he would eat raw meat out of the trash and that he would attack his mom all the time," Anderson said.
But Anderson said she did not feel right about what she saw and decided to make the phone call.
"They said he's mentally challenged... [but] you can call somebody and get [help]. You don't have to chain them to a pole in a basement. There's other options," she said. "I just feel bad for the kid."
At a protective custody hearing, a petition was filed alleging child abuse and neglect, according to Clay County juvenile court officer Alan Gremli.
The teen was present and so was his father.
"[The teen] is thin and showed me that he's probably put a little meat on a couple ribs since Monday," Gremli told ABCNews.com. "He was in a pretty decent mood. He wasn't angry, no animosity."
A judge decided that the teen would remain with his foster family at least until a March 7 hearing.
"[The teen] was aware of what was going on," Gremli said. "He told me he had been watching the news and doing okay at the foster home. They got to make homemade pizza the night before, which he hadn't done and thought was kind of cool."
The Kansas City Police Department did not immediately respond to request for comment from ABC News, but told the Associated Press that they are still investigating and have not yet turned over their findings to prosecutors for potential charges to be filed.