Step-Parents and Abuse: A Child Returns Home After Year of Neglect

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Apr 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

One of the most troubling aspects of divorce is knowing that your children will be out of your care. Even if you trust your former spouse, you may not trust a new partner, step-parent or other caretaker you don't have the opportunity to vet. In a troubling case, a young boy was finally released to his biological mother after a year of abuse and captivity. The case raises issues about custody, abuse, and the potential danger of abusive step-parents. OurBirmingham family lawyers understand the complexity and emotional issues surrounding custody cases. We are also dedicated to protecting the rights of our parent-clients as well as the best interests of their children.


This case made international headlines after a five-year-old boy was discovered severely malnourished and covered in bruises. Reports indicated that he had suffered extensive abuse at the hands of his father and his stepmother. When police found the boy, he had been kept in a padlocked closet under the stairs in a Texas home. He told investigators that he only received one piece of bread and a cup of milk or water every day. He only weighed 29 pounds when he was rescued by law enforcement. The boy was finally reunited with his biological mother after being kept in these conditions for over a year.

Reports have indicated that the young victim of abuse was given drugs to stay quiet and that he wasn't allowed to eat dinner at the table with the other children who belonged to his 33-year-old stepmother. Though the stepmother claims she was unaware of the conditions, she has been charged with felony child endangerment for keeping the boy locked under the stairs. She claims that she never saw the child in such bad condition and she blames the husband for the neglect and abuse.

Police were called to the home after a disturbance and were tipped off by the stepmother's 16-year-old son that the child was locked up under the stairs. The teenager told the police that his 5-year-old brother was kept in a diaper and locked under the stairs. There are conflicting reports about who was responsible for the abuse, as the stepmother claimed that the son and father lived in Alabama, but evidence was clear that the child was malnourished and suffered symptoms of neglect.

This case reflects the potential dangers faced by children who are taken away from a biological parent. Some custody determinations can put children at risk if their interests are not protected. If you are facing divorce, you want to ensure that your rights are protected and that your children are safe. If you suspect that your spouse or their partner is a danger to your child, you can take action to protect your children. An experienced attorney can review your case and take necessary legal action to protect your children from neglect or abuse. If you suspect that a child is being neglected or abused, you should also report the case to authorities.

To speak with a custody and family law attorney in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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