Oklahoma teen claims he was held in closet for years - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Oklahoma teen claims he was held in closet for years

In this undated police mug photo provided by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, Larhonda Marie McCall, 37, is shown in Oklahoma City. McCall and Steve Vern Hamilton, 38, were arrested Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 on complaints of child abuse. In this undated police mug photo provided by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, Larhonda Marie McCall, 37, is shown in Oklahoma City. McCall and Steve Vern Hamilton, 38, were arrested Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 on complaints of child abuse.
By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY - A woman was arrested after her 14-year-son told authorities he escaped from a home where he'd been kept for 4 1/2 years, spending most of his time locked in a bedroom closet, police said Monday.

A security guard at a National Guard facility in Oklahoma City called police on Friday after the teen showed up malnourished and with numerous scars and other signs of abuse, police Sgt. Gary Knight said Monday.

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

The boy was taken to a hospital to be examined and then turned over to the custody of the Department of Human Services, Knight said.

After police interviews, officers on Saturday arrested the boy's mother, 37-year-old LaRhonda Marie McCall, and a friend, 38-year-old Steve Vern Hamilton, 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, according to jail records.

Jail officials were not sure if either had retained an attorney, and no one answered the phone at McCall's home.

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 p.m. Friday and asked where a police station was located so he could report being abused, according to a police report.

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, the boy told police.

"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 4 1/2 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 she could not discuss specific cases but generally an investigation would be conducted before any of the children are returned to the home or placed with other family members.

"There may be family members, but we do a diligent search, and we're very careful about placing kids in a safe environment," DHS spokeswoman Beth Scott said.

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