Boy, 13, found naked, chained in US home, forced to sleep in dog crate - officials

A 13-year-old boy was forced to sleep in a dog crate at night and was found naked and chained at the ankles in a home in the US state of Alabama, officials say.

Three people have appeared in court on charges of aggravated child abuse, Fox News reports, citing the Montgomery Advertiser.

Danielle Martin, 32, and Joshua Martin, 26 - the boy’s mother and stepfather - and  Vickie Higginbotham, 58, the boy’s grandmother, were taken into custody after police received an anonymous call last Friday NZT about the child being chained inside the home in the city of Prattville.

An investigation showed the boy had been bound by chains and padlocks for at least 18 hours before police went to the house, the newspaper reported.

Officials said the child had been chained before and was even forced to sleep in a dog crate at night.

The Martins blamed Higginbotham for the alleged abuse and claimed they didn’t know what was happening to the child. 

Joshua Martin placed blame on his long work hours.

"How can you do these things, allow these things to take place, when you are in a lucid, conscious state?" Autauga County District Judge Joy Booth was quoted as saying during the court appearance today.

The trio are being held on $US30,000 bond.

The 13-year-old boy was taken to the hospital and treated for malnutrition. 

Two other children, aged five and 12, were taken from the home and placed in custody with the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

Danielle Nicole Martin, 32, Joshua Daniel Martin, 26, and Vickie Seale Higginbotham, 58, were arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse. Source: Autauga County Sheriff's Office