Frail teen found chained in parents' basement
The black and white words on a Kansas City police report describe the deplorable and heartbreaking conditions that a boy was found living in.
Starving, cold, handcuffed and unwanted, the boy, who has mental challenges, told police that he had been confined to his family's basement for months.
"I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything," the boy cried out when officers first began to walk down the basement steps, according to a police report.
The 17-year-old boy told police that his father and stepmother kept him handcuffed and barely fed in the basement of his home since September of last year.
Detectives are preparing a case to take to the prosecutor's office. The boy's father, stepmother and a second adult male are being investigated. The couple's 2-year-old grandson was taken from their care.
Police said someone close to the family said the teen has been diagnosed as bipolar and having extreme attention-deficit disorder. He apparently had behavioral issues.
A woman at the apartment complex, located in the 4000 block of North Wheeling Avenue in the Northland, who saw the teenage boy being brought out on a stretcher said he looked very thin and was shivering.
Her cousin, Crystal Anderson, called Missouri Department of Social Services on Monday morning after the boy's older brother told her that his teen brother, who is mentally challenged, was on house arrest and handcuffed to a pole in the basement for striking his mom a few months ago.
"I was worried about him. I hadn't seen him in four months. I knew something was going on but I didn't know exactly what," the woman recounted to KCTV5. She said in recent days she had seen the boy handcuffed, but had no idea conditions were so bad.
When officers went to check on him they found him handcuffed to a pole.
"I then observed a thin frail-looking male getting out of the fetal position on the concrete floor around a steel support pole," an officer wrote in a police report. "As he made it to his knees, it was apparent (that) he was handcuffed around the pole and could not get loose. We calmed the boy and assured him we were there to help him."
One of the officers used his own handcuff key to free the boy, who immediately began to rub his raw wrists.
His clothes were dirty and he was lying on the cold floor with a few thin blankets. The shivering boy repeatedly asked for his jacket and shoes, officers said.
Officers say his face was sunken in on the sides and his eyes looked full of desperation.
The victim said he had been in the basement since his father took him out of school in September.
The teenager told police that he had been kept in the basement since being removed from school by his father. He said his father generally brought him only instant oatmeal, Ramen noodles, two bologna sandwiches and a cup of water every day. According to a police report, the boy said he received the oatmeal at 4 a.m. and the pack of noodles at 3:30 p.m. The sandwiches were provided in the evening.
He said his routine was only to receive two bathroom breaks. One at 4 a.m. and the second at 3:30 p.m.
Ashley Reppy, whose cousin made the phone call that led to the boy's rescue, said she was horrified by the boy's condition when he was brought out on a stretcher.
"He didn't look 17. Very thin and he had lost a lot of weight. He looked grayish, kind of like a pale gray color. They said he was very dehydrated. I was heartbroken," said Reppy as she described the boy's appearance when the ambulance arrived. "I don't understand how you do that to a human being."
Reppy said the boy often played at her cousin's apartment on his Xbox until last year when he stopped coming over. She asked his parents and was told the boy was out of town.
"He was slow. He was mentally challenged, but he was a normal teenager who wanted to know everything about everyone and wanted to be your friend," Reppy said.
When the teen's older brother confided to the neighbor about the boy's living conditions, the woman became worried especially in light of him disappearing since last fall.
"He was on permanent house arrest is what he called it," Reppy said. "She knew something was up."
Anderson said the teen's older brother claimed that the teen was being punished for misbehaving.
"He told me one time that they had to keep him chained up because he'd eat raw meat from trash and attack his mom," Anderson said.
When officers arrived, the stepmother said the boy was sleeping and she would go get him. Instead, the officers said she should wait upstairs while they went into the basement without her.
"I don't think he could have handled it much longer," Reppy said. "He was on the verge of giving up."
The teen was taken to the hospital and is in the custody of the Clay County Children's Division.
Anderson said she wishes she had called sooner. She urged anyone with suspicions of abuse to call the authorities before someone disappears.
"It won't hurt. If there's nothing wrong, then there's nothing wrong," she said, but added it could save a life like what occurred this week.
North Kansas City School District officials, citing privacy issues, said they could not discuss the case in great detail. The boy had been a sophomore at a high school.
District officials said if a parent decides to home-school a child that the district cannot stop that or follow up on the student's progress.
Here are some area resources for families needing assistance.
Shawnee Mission Medical Center Behavioral Health Unit
St. Luke's Northland, Smithville
Adolescent Unit (ages 12-18)
Two Rivers Psychiatric
Truman Medical Center
Children's Mercy Hospital
Tough Love 913-492-1200
Youth Hotline 816-741-8700
MENTAL HEALTH CENTERS
Catholic Charities of KC (Counseling Services)
Don Bosco (Counseling Services)
Mattie Rhodes (Counseling Servicea)
Family Guidance Center, St. Joseph
Swope Behavioral Health
816-922-7645 ext. 4002
Tri-County Mental Health Services
Comprehensive Mental Health Services, Independence
NAMI of Greater Kansas City
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.