CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Handcuffed and shackled to a block of steel, the young boy would brace himself when he heard footsteps outside his bedroom door. He knew that once the grown-ups entered, the abuse would begin.
For years, he was whipped with belts, his face was burned with electrical wires and his fingers were broken with pliers — all to “teach him a lesson.” The abusers, who have since pleaded guilty, were his legal guardian — a supervisor with the Department of Social Services in Union County, North Carolina — and her longtime boyfriend, an emergency room nurse.
The abuse ended in November 2013 after police discovered the boy in handcuffs, chained to the front porch of the house with a dead chicken hung around his neck.
When police entered the roach-infested house “covered with urine and animal feces,” they found something else: four other children, ages 7 to 14, who had been adopted by the couple over the years. They were removed and placed in protective custody.