KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A 17-year-old boy who was allegedly locked in his father's basement for four months is facing his him one more time: in juvenile court.
Prosecutors argued that the teen should stay in state custody because his living conditions at his father and stepmother's home are considered dangerous.
Clay County juvenile officer Alan Gremli showed a judge photos of the steel pole the boy was handcuffed to in the dark basement, and a dirty blanket -- the only thing keeping the boy warm.
However, Gremli said the boy's appearance alone could be enough to prove his case. On Thursday, the boy looked emaciated, with sunken cheeks and visible bones. He wore a hooded sweatshirt and khaki pants.
RELATED | Innocence lost: A timeline of child abuse cases in the Kansas City area http://bit.ly/WzK9FW
The boy's father, David Martin, wore sunglasses in the hearing. Only a few minutes into the 11 a.m. hearing, he asked for an attorney. The court recessed to allow him time to find one.
Gremli said he talked to the boy this morning, who he said is very nervous but happy to be out of his situation.
Thursday's hearing does not look at parents and their guilt in abusing the boy; it solely deals with the living conditions at the home.
The boy's father and stepmother have not been charged in this case.
Gremli also said this family has been in Clay County Juvenile Court before where they argued that their son, who has developmental disabilities, was "problematic" and abusive to his stepmother. Gremli said on two occasions the state offered help to the family, but the boy's father and stepmother in his opinion didn't seem very open to dedicating their time to the programs.
Police said if it weren't for an observant neighbor, the boy may not have lived.
Neighbors tell 41 Action News they hadn't seen the boy in months and were worried, so they called police.