Judge rules boy found handcuffed in basement will stay with foster parents

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- The 17-year-old boy who was found handcuffed to a pole in a dark basement will remain in protective custody, a judge ruled Thursday in a custody hearing.

The boy was removed from his father's home on Monday after a neighbor alerted the Division of Family Services that he was being held in "permanent jail" in the basement of his Northland home.

The boy's father, identified as David L. Martin, was in court, seated about five chairs away from his son. Martin did not say anything, however the boy spoke openly in court. He told the judge he enjoyed spending time with his foster parents and that he liked making homemade pizza with them Wednesday night.

"I couldn't eat it all," he said. He later added that he was looking forward to finishing the rest of the pizza Thursday afternoon. He said he was also looking forward to attending an area high school next week.

The boy was found Monday chained to a pole in the basement of his father's home. According to the police report, he was “very thin for his height. His face was sunken in on the sides and his eyes had a look of desperation.”In describing the conditions further, the officer reporting the incident said in the police report:

“He was shivering and he said he was very cold. He continuously asked for his jacket and shoes. He had only a few thin blankets to lay on and to cover up with as he slept on the cold concrete floor.

The boy told investigators he had been down there since September 27 when he says his father took him out of school and locked him in the basement.

According to a juvenile officer, during interviews, Martin said the boy had only been in the basement for three weeks.

The boy's biological mother lives in Missouri. She was unable to attend Thursday's custody hearing. The next court hearing is scheduled for March 7.

No charges have been filed to date.

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