Couple arrested after teenager claims he was locked in closet for four years

By Calvin Palmer

A man and a woman have been arrested following the escape of a 14-year-old boy from a home where he claims he had been kept captive for more than four years.

The malnourished boy turned up at a National Guard facility in Oklahoma City on Friday with numerous scars and other signs of abuse, police Sgt  Gary Knight said today.

“He was hungry. He was dirty. He had numerous scars on his body,” Knight said. “It was very sad.”

A security guard at the facility called the police and the boy was taken to a hospital to be examined and then turned over to the custody of the Department of Human Services

Police officers on Saturday arrested the boy’s mother, LaRhonda Marie McCall, 37,and a friend, Steve Vern Hamilton, 38, on 20 complaints each of child abuse and child neglect.

Formal charges have not been filed, and both were being held on $400,000 bond.

The teen, wearing only a pair of oversized shorts held up by a belt, walked up to a security guard at the Guard facility around 5:00 p.m. Friday and asked where a police station was located so he could report being abused.

He told police that scars on his stomach and torso were from where alcohol had been poured on him and set on fire. Other scars were from being tied up, hit with an extension cord and choked.

“He had scars covering most of his body,” Knight said. “They were basically from head to foot.”

The teen told police he moved to the Oklahoma City area from New Jersey about four-and-a-half years ago after his mother was released from jail.

Since arriving in Oklahoma, he said, he had never been to school and spent most of his time locked in a bedroom closet. It was not immediately known how the teen escaped.

Knight said six other children living at the home were taken into DHS custody, but none showed signs of abuse.

A DHS spokeswoman said an investigation would be conducted before any of the children are returned to the home or placed with other family members.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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