A 14-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital due to malnutrition and shock in Helena, Alabama. Doctors weighed him at 55 pounds and quickly realized that this was a case of child neglect due to his malnourished body. The boy was allegedly locked in a basement by his adoptive parents, Richard and Cynthia Kelly, who are also guardians to two other boys. They are now under police custody and have been charged with aggravated child abuse.
The investigation began Sunday when Helena police were notified of the boy’s arrival at the hospital. “The boy was chronically malnourished, dehydrated and close to death,” Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar said during a news conference. The set bond for the parents has been set to $1 million dollars each and neither of them seem to have a defense attorney. “It is our belief that he spent an extended period of time in what I would term as a forced isolation,” Folmar said.
A neighbor of the family spoke to the police department and told them that she recently saw a young man she believed to be the youth in the backyard cutting grass and noticed that he was “very small” and struggled with the lawn mower. “The father was just watching him,” said the woman.
The 14-year-old and his sibling were supposedly home-schooled and weren’t enrolled in any public school, authorities said. The arrest warrant states that the couple was accused of denying food, nourishment and medical care to the boy. “Like most of the people here at the police department, I’m a parent and you just struggle to wrap your head around it,” Folmar said. He says that this might be the worst case of child neglect he has ever come across in his career.
Barry Spear, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, told The Associated Press that a local hospital on Sunday morning reported the child’s condition to child welfare authorities and also mentioned that this is the first time they are hearing about this child.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org