Abused, neglected teen's father fighting for custody - WNEM TV 5

Abused, neglected teen asks judge to keep him in foster care

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A 17-year-old boy who was handcuffed to a pole in his basement told a judge on Thursday that he didn't want to return to his family who allegedly mistreated and starved him.

The teenager, visibly thin underneath his baggy khakis and jacket, joked with juvenile court officials in a Clay County courtroom, saying that he had put on a few pounds after living with his foster parents the last few days. He said they've made homemade pizza and he's happy where he is.

But just three days ago, the 17-year-old was not happy. Police reports say quote his "eyes looked of desperation" when they found him handcuffed to a pole in his basement home.

A neighbor who hadn't seen the teen in a while called the Missouri Department of Social Services and police visited the home near Wheeling Avenue and Russell Road on Monday. When police arrived, they said the boy's stepmother told them he was sleeping in the basement. Police found him there, handcuffed to a pole. Kansas City police said the teen was frail and dehydrated and was shivering on a cold cement floor. They said the parents, his father and stepmother, put him in the basement for his behavioral problems.

"He had lost a lot of weight. He looked grayish kind of, like pale gray color. They said he was very dehydrated," witness Ashley Reppy said. "I was heartbroken honestly."

The teen's father and his stepmother have not been charged with any crime. Only the father, David Martin, appeared in court Thursday. He did not answer any of the media's questions.

Juvenile Officer Alan Gremli said that the teen told investigators he had been kept in the basement since Sept. 22, the day he was pulled out of Winnetonka High School. Gremli said the father denied that September date and argued that the teen had been in the basement for only three weeks.

The judge Thursday determined that the 17-year-old will remain in protective custody with his foster family for now.

The teen's biological mother lives about two hours away in central Missouri. She did not appear in court Thursday.

On the next court date, court officials will discuss a permanent placement for the teen.

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