After a 13-year-old boy was found naked and chained by his ankles in Alabama, his own mother, grandmother and step-dad were taken into custody and charged with torture and child abuse.
The Autauga County Sheriff's Office received an anonymous call of possible child abuse occurring at a home in Prattville on Thursday, police said in a statement.
“The caller stated they had information that a juvenile was being abused in the home by being restrained with chains,” police said. “Deputies and Investigators responded to the residence where they found a 13 year old male juvenile naked with chains padlocked around his ankles.”
Those chains were attached to a door, according to police. They prevented the victim from “normal movement.”
The teen has been restrained using this “method over a long period of time,” police determined after an investigation.
“There was a strong smell of urine and feces right around where he was at but none to be seen,” Autauga County Sheriff's Office Investigator Stephen Geon said at a press conference.
The boy’s mother Danielle Nicole Martin, 32, and grandmother Vickie Seale Higginbotham, 58, were arrested as well as Martin’s husband, Joshua Daniel Martin, 26. They have all been given $15,000 cash only bond each after being charged with torture and willful abuse of a child under 18.
The padlocked boy and two other children, ages 5 and 12, were removed from the home. All three children were turned over to the custody of the Department of Human Resources, police say. Officials believe that the chaining of the boy was a brutal form of punishment, according to WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama. What he was being punished for remains unclear.
“I’ve never encountered where a child has been chained up,” Autauga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger said during the press conference, adding that he's seen a lot of other child abuse cases.
Further charges may be forthcoming as a result of this ongoing investigation, police say.
[Photos: Autauga County Sheriff’s Department]