816 North

Not-guilty pleas entered for Northland couple accused of keeping teen handcuffed

A Northland couple pleaded not guilty Wednesday in connection with the handcuffing of their 17-year-old son to a basement support beam in their Kansas City, North home.

David L. Martin Sr., 42, and Pamela S. Martin, 41, appeared through video feeds for separate arraignment hearings in Liberty. Each asked to be assigned a public defender.

The court entered routine not-guilty pleas for them.

Prosecutors charged the Martins on Tuesday with felonious restraint and child abuse, eight days after police found the teen shackled and lying in a fetal position on blankets on the family’s concrete basement floor. A neighbor had alerted authorities by calling the child-abuse hotline.

The Martins’ next court appearances are set for Feb. 26. Each remained in custody Wednesday after failing to post $50,000 bonds.

A man who identified himself as Chad Kennedy attended the arraignment for Pamela Martin. Kennedy declined to comment after the hearing but acknowledged that Pamela Martin is his mother. An elderly woman accompanied Kennedy, but she also declined to comment.

According to court records, when police arrived at the family’s townhouse in the 4000 block of North Wheeling Avenue on Feb. 4, they found the sunken-faced victim cuffed, wearing filthy clothes and suffering from sores and abrasions on both wrists. He told police he had been restrained that way for several months.

The couple told investigators the teen was bipolar and suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, court records said. They kept him handcuffed, they said, for their safety and his, and because they did not have money to buy his prescription medicine.

The teen told police his father typically woke him at 4 a.m., allowed him to use the bathroom and fed him instant oatmeal. The father would lock him back up until he got home from work about 2:30 p.m. He would be allowed another bathroom break and be served ramen noodles before being handcuffed again.

Later in the evening, his father would bring him two bologna sandwiches with water before locking him up for the night, the youth told police.

Though he once weighed 130 pounds, he had dropped to 103. The teen had been denied use of the bathroom for at least 10 hours at a time for about six weeks, according to court records.

Authorities also said the teen was allowed to shower once every four weeks.

David Martin had told police he had previously locked his son in his bedroom but resorted to handcuffs after the teen escaped. Martin said that he restrained his son while he was out of the home and that he was the only person who handcuffed and released the teen.

Pamela Martin told police that her stepson would eat large quantities of food if left alone. The teen verbally abused her and tried to kick her, she told police.

Neighbors said they previously had seen the teen kept outside during all types of weather.

They described the teen as childlike and said he always appeared to be hungry.