Teen found handcuffed in Northland basement to stay in state custody

Father appeared at hearing, requested attorney

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Clay County judge decided Thursday that a Northland teen found handcuffed to a steel pole in his father's basement should stay in state custody.

The boy and his father, David Martin, both appeared at the hearing.

It is still a mystery why Martin's son was found locked in his basement. Pushing past reporters after the hearing, Martin left a flurry of questions unanswered three days after police found his son locked in the cold and dark basement.

His son claimed he had been there for months, apart from a few bathroom breaks each day. In court interviews, officials said the father angrily insisted that "It was only three weeks."

The healthy but thin teen was innocently talkative during his hearing. He warmly discussed the homemade pizza he shared with his court-appointed guardians, and joked that he has already put on weight.

But when his father entered the room, the teen became skittish. The two did not speak.

A judge examined photos of the basement where the teen had been kept, showing a few blankets strewn on the concrete floor. The boy told police he had been locked away and out of school since September.

The boy will return to school next week. He will stay in foster care and out of his father's house at least until the next hearing.

Thursday's proceeding was a custody hearing, and no charges have been filed as of yet. The Clay County prosecutor is still in the process of performing interviews and isn't rushing because the teen is now safe.

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