HELENA, Ala. -- Authorities say a 14-year-old boy weighing about 55 pounds is fighting for his life after spending much of two years locked in the basement of his Alabama home, Al.com reports.
The website quotes Shelby County authorities as saying that the child is in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital. The report also says his adoptive parents, Richard and Cynthia Kelly, have been charged with aggravated child abuse. Bond for each is set at $1 million.
The investigation began Sunday when Helena police were notified of the boy’s arrival at the hospital.The website reported the boy weighed only 55 pounds, but investigators would not confirm that information to CBS affiliate WIAT.
According to arrest warrants, the couple is accused of denying food, nourishment and medical care to the boy, who was “subjected to forced isolation for extended periods of time.”
The boy was severely malnourished, dehydrated, was experiencing shock and was “close to death” when he was admitted to the hospital, Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar told reporters. He remains “gravely ill,” Folmar said.
Folmar said it’s the most disturbing case many of his investigators have seen in their careers.
“You just struggle to wrap your head around it,” he said.
Two young adults, 19 and 21, one of whom is an adoptive sibling, were also living in the home. Folmar said they are employed and there is “no harm” to them, and said they are not being charged in connection to the case.
“The victim continues to get medical care and we at the Helena Police Department wish him a speedy recovery and our prayers are with him,” police said in a statement released on Facebook.