Danielle Nicole Martin, 32, Joshua Daniel Martin, 26, and Vickie Seale Higginbotham, 58, were arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse.
(Autauga County Sheriff’s Office)
A 13-year-old boy who was found naked and chained at the ankles in a home Alabama was forced by the three people who took care of him and sleeping in a bench, officials said Monday.
Danielle Nicole Martin, 32, Joshua Daniel Martin, 26, and Vickie Seale Higginbotham, 58, appeared in court on suspicion of aggravated child abuse, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. Danielle and Joshua, Martin — the boy’s mother and stepfather — and Higginbotham, the boy’s grandmother, were taken into custody after police received an anonymous call Thursday about the child looking in the Prattville home.
“How can you do these things, can these things be, if you are in a conscious state?” Autauga County District Judge Joy Booth said during the Monday court appearance.
An investigation showed that the 13-year-old boy had been connected by chains and padlocks for at least 18 hours before the police went to the home, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. The child took the necklace, and was even forced to sleep in a bench in the night, the officials said.
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The Martins debt Higginbotham for the alleged abuse and alleged that he did not know what was happening with the child. Joshua Martin placed blame on his long working hours.
“How can you do these things, can these things be, if you are in a conscious state?”
– Autauga County District Judge Joy Booth
“We didn’t know what [Higginbotham] did,” Danielle Martin told Booth on Monday, adding she was not on drugs when the alleged abuse happened. “My mother has a mind of her own. I tried to stop her as she him in the bench.”
Higginbotham also said the court: “They knew not that I chained the child on the bed. Danielle and Josh had nothing to do with this. I would never harm a child on purpose. I have made a mistake.”
Booth not to buy the three members of the family, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. They are held on $30,000 bond.
The 13-year-old was taken to the hospital and treated for malnutrition. Two other children, ages 5 and 12, are taken away from the home and placed in custody with the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter via @bykatherinelam