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Frail Kansas City teen found cuffed in parents' basement

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | 12:40 p.m. CST; updated 9:42 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 6, 2013

KANSAS CITY — Authorities found a frail 17-year-old boy handcuffed to a pole in his parents' Kansas City basement, where he said he'd been kept since his father withdrew him from school in September.

Police said Wednesday that they were still investigating and hadn't turned over any of their findings to prosecutors for consideration of possible charges. Police have not released the names of anyone involved in the case. The teen was placed in the custody of child services.

According to a police report, an officer and social worker who were acting on a phoned-in tip visited the family's home Monday. When they entered the basement, they heard someone cry out, "I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything."

"I then observed a thin frail looking male getting out of the fetal position on the concrete floor around a steel support pole," Officer Jonathan Stone wrote in the report. The teen was handcuffed to the pole and looked very thin for his height, with a sunken face and eyes that "had a look of desperation."

After police freed the shivering boy from the handcuffs and helped him calm down, he said he had been kept in the basement since September, when his father removed him from school. He said he was initially "just locked in the basement but was not fed much."

He told police that in October, he managed to get out of the basement and get food, which angered his father, who tried handcuffing both his hands to a bed frame in a "cross position, but his arms were not long enough."

The teen said he managed to take apart the bed in November and used a bed rail to break open the door, but he didn't manage to find food. He told police that this time his father removed the bed from the basement and handcuffed him to the pole.

He told police that his father would wake him each day at 4 a.m. to use the bathroom and give him a packet of dried oatmeal. In the afternoon, he would again be allowed to use the bathroom and would get a packet of noodles to eat. Later, he would get two bologna sandwiches and a glass of water before being locked up for the night.

Another adult in the home told police that the teen was "locked downstairs because in December they let him upstairs and he ate almost an entire bowl of fruit at one time."

The case comes several months after Kansas City police found a 32-pound girl barricaded inside a closet that reeked of urine. That child's mother is scheduled for trial in June on assault, child abuse and child endangerment charges. The mother's 35-year-old boyfriend pleaded guilty in October to endangering the child and was sentenced to five years' probation.


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