Archived Story

Berrien Springs boy found handcuffed

Published 10:50pm Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Berrien Springs Oronoko Township Police Department is investigating the report of a 16-year-old boy who was allegedly handcuffed and confined to a 6-by-4-foot room by his mother for a week before freeing himself and calling for help.
At approximately 3:39 p.m. Tuesday, officers of the Berrien Springs Oronoko Township Police Department were dispatched to a residence in the Village of Berrien Springs, for a report of a 16-year-old child being handcuffed and confined in a room for the past week.
The handcuffed child had managed to free himself from the room and make a 911 computerized call to the Berrien County dispatch center. The child had freed himself by dragging the chair he was handcuffed to to a nearby computer, and using the computer to make a phone call while his mother was picking up his sister from school.
Upon arrival, officers made contact with the complainant/victim and were able to speak with him.
Also at home at that time was the victim’s mother and a 9-year-old sister.
During the course of the investigation it was learned that the victim’s mother had been confining the 16-year-old child, handcuffed to a wooden kitchen chair. The child had been arrested for shoplifting approximately three weeks ago. As punishment, the mother had been confining the child to a room measuring approximately 6-by-4 feet.
The child was only allowed a Bible inside this room, and he was directed to think about what he had done. Approximately two weeks ago, the child had snuck in a MP3 player, and after mom had found out, she decided to handcuff the child while he was in this room. The child then spent nearly all day handcuffed and confined to this room, reportedly from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The child was placed inside the room upon awakening, and fed breakfast inside this room. The child would stay in the room throughout the day and be fed lunch and dinner while in this same room.
At the end of the day, when the child was allowed to get ready for bed, the mother would allow him to go to his bedroom, but then was handcuffed with one wrist to a desk leg. If the child needed to use the bathroom, or was hungry, he would ring a bell that had been placed inside this room. There was also a water bottle located in this room.
The room included a window for the child to look outside. The child was also allowed to go outside to shovel snow, but upon finishing he was ordered to return to the room.
The child indicated that he was supposed to be spending several more months in this room. This child said he could not take it anymore, and that is when he decided to call 911 when his mother was gone.
Child Protective Services was contacted and both children were taken into protective custody by responding police officers and placed into foster care homes by CPS.
Initial reports have been submitted to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office for review of criminal charges and the investigation is continuing.

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