An Alabama teenager is in serious condition and fighting for his life after spending much of the last two years in "forced isolation" in the basement of his parents' home in Helena. The boy was reportedly given very little to eat or drink.
Shelby County officials say the 14-year-old child, whose name has not been released, was found to weigh only 55 pounds when his parents took him to a local hospital to be treated Nov. 13, the Daily Mail reports.
The teen's parents sought medical treatment for the boy when his condition was found to be deteriorating at home.
Shelby County Department of Human Resources notified the police of the case of abuse soon after the boy arrived at the hospital. The government office had not previously received any reports about the boy before.
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According to the authorities, he weighs less than half of the standard weight of a boy his age.
"Doctors noted the child was severely, chronically malnourished, dehydrated, suffering from acute respiratory distress, shock, hypothermia, hypothyroid and that he was close to death. The child remains gravely ill at this time and faces a long and difficult recovery and an uncertain prognosis," Helena police Chief Pete Folmar said.
"It’s the worst case of neglect that I have ever seen," Folmar added.
The teen's adoptive parents, Richard and Cynthia Kelly, were arrested on Nov. 13 and charged the following day with aggravated child abuse, a Class B felony. Bond for each has been set at $1 million.
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Shelby County Schools do not have the boy registered as a student. The police were told the teen was being homeschooled.
Neighbors said the boy would mow the lawn once a week during the summer as his father stood on the porch and observed him. According to WVTM, they believed he was 8 or 9 years old because the child had such a small body frame.
Folmar stated there was no evidence the teen was being beaten or "bodily restrained." He described the child as being "challenged in some way."
Two young adults, approximately 19 and 21, were also found to be living with the Kellys at the time of their arrest. One is an adopted child of the Kellys and the other is an acquaintance. The two young adults have not been charged with any crime related to the starved 14-year-old boy and are in good health, Folmar said.