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Missouri teen found handcuffed in family basement

By Carma Hassan, CNN
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 17-year-old Kansas City boy was mentally challenged, neighbors say
  • Friends reported alleged abuse at the boy's family home
  • The boy was handcuffed in the basement, freed for only three bathroom breaks a day
  • The boy was treated at a hospital and placed in county custody, authorities say

(CNN) -- Neighbors expressed shock as details emerged Wednesday in the case of a 17-year-old Missouri boy found handcuffed to a stainless steel support pole in his family's basement. He had been there since September, police say.

Friends and neighbors said the Kansas City teen was mentally challenged, and they were heartbroken to see him taken by ambulance to a hospital.

"You give birth to this child and you are going to handcuff it and lock it and not feed it and not give him water? How do you not take care of your child?" said Ashley Reppy, who lives close to the family and spoke to CNN affiliate KSHB Wednesday.

In a police report released Wednesday, officers described the victim as dressed in dirty clothes and his "face was sunken in on the sides and his eyes had a look of desperation."

The teenager told police that he had been handcuffed in the basement since September, that he was unchained three times a day to go to the bathroom and that he was given only instant oatmeal, Ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches to eat.

Reppy said she had often seen the victim sleeping on the front porch because his family wouldn't let him in the house.

Her cousin reported the alleged abuse to a children's division hot line of the Missouri Department of Social Services, she said. The victim's older brother had told them that the victim had hit his mother and was "on permanent house arrest," she said.

"We cried a lot yesterday because we're friends with him," Reppy told CNN affiliate WDAF.

"You know, three and a half months seems kind of long for him to not be in school," Reppy told KSHB. "His friends would come over and knock on the door, and (the victim's stepmother) told them that he was out of town."

Kansas City Police spokesman Officer Darrin Snapp told CNN Wednesday that he could not comment on the case because it is still under investigation.

Jim Roberts of the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said the victim's parents have not been charged.

A digital camera and numerous photographs discovered at the home were sent to the Kansas City Regional Crime Lab.

The victim was taken to the North Kansas City Hospital for further treatment before he was placed in the custody of the Clay County Children's Division, the police report said.

A 2-year-old child also living at the residence was placed in state custody, authorities said.

"State law prohibits release of information specific to a case or individual, so I cannot confirm nor deny involvement in a case," Rebecca Woelfel, the communications director for the Missouri Department of Social Services, said in an e-mail to CNN.

CNN's Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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