GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A 15-year-old boy told investigators he had been handcuffed to a banister for hours at a time, whipped with a belt and denied food, drink and bathroom breaks, Mesa County sheriff's deputies said.
Investigators said the 5-foot-3 boy weighed 95 pounds and "appeared very thin and pale" when authorities removed him from the home.
His father, 40-year-old John Wilson, and stepmother, 35-year-old Kristie Liane Moore were arrested Thursday on suspicion of child abuse. It was not known whether they had attorneys.
A 16-year-old girl who also lived in the home told investigators she saw the boy handcuffed to the banister for 12 hours a day for months on end, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. She said she was instructed to stay with the handcuffed boy and not release him while the adults went shopping.
The affidavit said that on one occasion the boy was kicked in the groin as punishment.
The girl is not related to the boy but was in the care of Wilson and Moore, authorities said. She has also been removed from the home.
The affidavit said other family members were aware of the handcuffing and tried reporting it to the Department of Human Services when Wilson and Moore lived in the Denver area, but the family moved frequently and nothing was ever done.
According to the affidavit, the boy told investigators he was punished for not doing his chores well enough "and was in trouble for so many things, it appeared to just blend together."
The affidavit said Moore required the boy to do jumping jacks or stair steps for several consecutive hours on weekends as punishment for not doing chores.
"Moore explained this was due to his out-of-control behavior, such as talking back and not listening, and clenching his fists," the affidavit said.
The affidavit said Wilson told police the boy was rude and disrespectful to Moore.