55-pound teen fighting for life after 2 years locked in basement, police say

HELENA, Ala. — A severely malnourished Alabama teen is fighting for his life after police allege he spent most of the past two years locked in a basement by his adoptive parents.

The investigation into the 14-year-old boy’s living conditions began after his adoptive parents took him to a Shelby County hospital for treatment. According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the boy’s parents, Richard Hobson Kelly and Cynthia Rogers Kelly, were charged Monday with aggravated child abuse.

Each is being held in the county jail in lieu of $1 million bail, jail records showed Tuesday.

AL.com reported that the Helena Police Department responded to a call from the Department of Human Resources, which had been called in by the hospital after the boy's arrival. When he was brought in to the emergency room, he weighed just 55 pounds -- less than half of what a child his age should weigh.

His parents allegedly denied him food, water and medical care and locked him away in the basement for long periods of time as punishment, AL.com said.

"It's the worst case of neglect that I have ever seen," Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar told the newspaper.

Another child adopted by the couple, now grown, lived in the home as well, but was not malnourished like the younger boy, police said.