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Couple charged with handcuffing bipolar teen to pole

By Heather Hollingsworth

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12 2013 11:41 p.m. MST

David Martin and his wife Pamela Martin are seen in undated photos provided by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. David Martin, 42, and his wife, Pamela Martin, 41, are accused of handcuffing the husband's teenage son to a basement pole , and have been charged with child abuse. The couple were charged Tuesday, Feb. 12 2013 in Clay County Circuit Court with felonious restraint and child abuse. The 17-year-old was found Feb. 4 after a neighbor contacted a social services agency. Police found the boy in the basement curled in a fetal position and locked to a steel pole. (AP Photo/Kansas City Missouri Police Department)

Associated Press

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City couple charged with child abuse Tuesday told authorities they handcuffed the husband's malnourished teenage son to a basement pole because he was bipolar and they had run out of options in handling him, court documents said.

Police went to the home Feb. 4 after a neighbor called social services. They found the 17-year-old boy locked to a steel pole in the dark basement. He was curled in a fetal position, shivering on the cold, concrete floor and weighed only 103 pounds, according to a probable cause statement.

The teen's father, David Martin, 42, and stepmother, Pamela Martin, 41, were charged in Clay County Circuit Court with child abuse and felonious restraint. Bond was set at $50,000.

The boy told investigators he had been kept in the basement since his father took him out of school in late September. Initially, he was just locked in but later he was handcuffed to a bed rail. The teen said in November, after the second time he tried to escape for food, he was handcuffed to the steel support pole. He was allowed to shower once every four weeks, the probable cause statement said.

The teen said he was fed oatmeal each morning, a pack of noodles during the day and bologna sandwiches at night. His weight dropped from 130 pounds to 103 pounds, and he had sores on both wrists, according to the statement.

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