KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City police rescued a teenager from his father's basement on Monday. The 17-year-old boy, who is mentally challenged, was found handcuffed to a pole and crouched in the fetal position.
He lived at the home in the Northland with his father, stepmother and older brother. There's been no word on what charges -- if any -- will be filed in the case.
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But now that the teen has been removed from that situation, where does he go from here?
Dennis Meier is the associate executive director of Synergy Services, which helps thousands of abuse victims a year. He said getting the boy back to some sort of normalcy will be difficult -- but doable.
"The road to recovery can be long, but there are promising methods," Meier said. "As abusive as it is, that has been his way of surviving, and so moving away from a survival narrative now to a health, growth, trust narrative is going to be his challenge."
Meier explained the key is support. Making empty promises about never being hurt again doesn't help.
"It doesn't help to promise him something that you can't guarantee. It's impossible to know what his future will be like," Meier said. "But you can reassure him that you're there for him. That you will be there for him tomorrow and the day after and the year after and so forth."
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The harsh reality, Meier said, is he's positive there are more kids in Kansas City suffering from the same abuse.
"It's a matter of time before we have another story like this," Meier said. "The hope is that the media and we in the community can try and raise awareness, so that if we see something like this we can intervene earlier."
Meier hopes people educate themselves on mental illness, so if they ever observe someone in need, they know how to respond.
Visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org for more information on mental illness.