Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Mother charged over 'tortured teen'

The mother of a teenage boy who said he was locked in closets over four years was charged with 29 counts of child abuse for allegedly torturing and imprisoning him.



Prosecutors say LaRhonda McCall, 37, and her friend, Steve Hamilton, 38, beat the boy repeatedly with "fists, bike chains, cables, extension cords, and/or boards", leaving permanent scars.

Hamilton is charged with 24 counts of child abuse.

The charges also say McCall tortured her son in various ways, once tying him naked to a ladder and pouring sugar water over him in order to attract insects.

Another time, the charges allege, she poured alcohol on him and lit it, burning the boy. She also allegedly forced him to stand barefoot in the snow for more than 45 minutes.

McCall and Hamilton are being held in the Oklahoma County jail.

Oklahoma County first assistant district attorney Scott Rowland would not on the charges.

The boy, malnourished and covered in bruises and scars, sought help from a security guard at a National Guard armoury on September 25.

The teenager told police he spent most of the last four and a half years locked inside bedroom closets at various apartments where the family lived and never attended school or received medical attention, authorities said.

The teenager's 18-year-old sister, Jaleasa McCall, said last month that she would bring her brother food and sympathy, but did not have the courage to contact authorities.

The boy and his six younger siblings have been placed in Department of Human Services custody.

Managers of the last two apartment complexes where the family most recently lived said they occasionally saw some of McCall's seven other children but never saw the teenage boy.

McCall was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in New York in 1996 in the death of her two-year-old daughter and served six months in jail.

Prosecutors in that case said McCall, then known as LaRhonda Presley, essentially starved the toddler, who died in February 1995, according to a New York grand jury indictment obtained by the Associated Press.

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