Mother arrested after security finds bruised,beat 14yr old www.privateofficer.com
Two security guards who work at the armory and saw the teen there Friday said they lost sleep over the weekend thinking about the boy and the torture he described.
“He said he wanted help, and as soon as he showed us the bruises, we took him inside” and called police, said one of the guards, Paul Clark. “His wrists looked like he either had been handcuffed or had ropes or chains around them. It really kind of took me aback.”
Meanwhile, the manager of an apartment where the boy’s family lived until last month said it appeared a closet in a bedroom of the home had been used as a bathroom.
Investigators continued to conduct interviews and examine evidence as they prepared a criminal case against the teen’s mother, LaRhonda Marie McCall, 37, Oklahoma City police Sgt. Gary Knight said.
McCall and a friend, Steve Vern Hamilton, 38, were arrested Saturday on 20 complaints each of child abuse and child neglect. Both remained jailed Tuesday on $400,000 bond. Neither has been formally charged, and jail officials were not sure if either has an attorney. No one answered the phone at McCall’s home Tuesday.
Police believe the boy’s mother frequently tied him up to prevent him from escaping and had a lock installed on a bedroom closet where he often was kept for days at a time. Based on physical evidence and interviews, investigators have no reason to doubt the teen, who claimed he spent most of the last 4 1/2 years locked inside bedroom closets at various apartments where the family lived, Knight said.
McCall had seven other children, six of whom were minors and were taken into custody of the Department of Human Services, but none showed signs of abuse, Knight said.
Karen Gilleland, manager of the Hillcrest Apartments in south Oklahoma City, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that after McCall was evicted for unpaid bills in August, a hole filled with human waste was found in the wall of a closet in their apartment unit.
Gilleland said she never realized McCall had more than seven children and that whenever Gilleland had been in the apartment during the several months the family lived there, the door to the bedroom where the soiled closet was found always was closed.
“I just wish I would have known about it,” she said. “I would have done something.”
Knight said Tuesday that he wasn’t aware of the apartment manager’s statements about the closet being used as a bathroom, but he had seen photographs of the boy’s body “and he was subjected to a number of types of abuse.”
“He was frequently locked in the closet for hours if not days at a time,” Knight said. “He wasn’t allowed to leave, never attended school, never received medical attention.”
Police started an investigation Friday after the malnourished boy showed up at the base, about a mile and a half from the town house where he lived, and asked where a police station was located so he could report being abused.
He told police the closet door was mostly blocked with a stepladder or a bed and that he managed to push the door open enough to escape.
Leslie Sanders, another security guard at the armory, said the boy seemed believable and was concerned about the fate of his siblings.
“He was very straightforward with his answers,” she said. “He still had a good enough heart to ask about his brothers and sisters.”
Dr. Daniel Rybicki, a Gig Harbor, Wash., clinical psychologist who specializes in domestic violence and child abuse and consults in criminal and civil cases, said it’s not uncommon for an abusive parent to single out one child.
“There may be temperament variables, where one child is difficult to deal with, but it may be that there are a number of factors with what that child means to the parent,” Rybicki said.
“It may be completely irrational and based on that parent’s own pathology.”
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