New Details Released in Case of Teen Locked in Closet
By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The officers who helped a 14-year-old after he escaped from a home where he was allegedly beaten, starved and locked up in a closet by his mother and her friend spoke out about their shocking encounter with the boy.
The National Guard building on Northeast 36th Street is where that 14-year-old boy sought refuge after his 18-year-old sister helped him escape from what he called an abusive home. It was there that he approached the officers on duty and said he needed a police officer.
"He said that's he's been abused for the past four years and didn't want to go home. He was tired of it," said Leslie Sanders, Oklahoma Military Department.
The boy said the abuse happened at this apartment, just a mile away from the National Guard building. Officers said his body was covered with new and old wounds.
"They looked like bruises and burn marks. His wrists looks like he'd been handcuffs and had ropes or chains around him," said Paul Clark, Oklahoma Military Department. "At first it was kind of 'oh my god' and then it was like OK, let's get this kid some help."
The officers took the boy inside, fed him and called police. LaRhonda McCall, 37 and her friend Steve Hamilton, 38, were arrested and each face 20 complaints of child abuse and child neglect.
Hamilton had six other children none of whom appeared to have suffered physical abuse. Sociologist Howard Kurtz said it is a rare for only one child to be singled out like that.
"It is pretty unusual, but there are cases where one child is chosen to be the scapegoat," Kurtz said.
Kurtz said the 14-year-old victim will need intensive counseling and therapy after experiencing the severe abuse.
The officers who helped the boy said they won't soon forget their encounter with the young teen.
"It just kind of brought it home myself because I have three grandson's myself," Clark said.
The14-year-old boy and five of his siblings are now in DHS custody.
The manager at the apartment complex where the abuse was taking place said McCall had only lived in the apartments for about a month and neighbors were unaware of any abuse.
Karen Gilleland, manager of the Hillcrest Apartments in south Oklahoma City, said 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.
The boy said he was locked in closets at various apartments in the Oklahoma City area over the last four and a-half years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
More on News9.com: Teen Claims He Was Locked In Closet For 4 Years