Boy wanted to die as 'family tortured him in basement while living upstairs'

Boy wanted to die as 'family tortured him in basement while living upstairs'

A teen boy wished he was dead after his parents starved and tortured him in a basement for years while carrying on a normal life upstairs.

Boy, 14, wished he was dead as ‘family starved and tortured him in the basement while they lived upstairs for YEARS’

Ethan Kelly, who was hospitalized and rescued from the abusive Alabama home when he was 14 years old, faced his adoptive parents in court for the first time in four years on Thursday.

Cynthia Kelly.

Richard Kelly.

Ethan shared details of the horrors that led up to his 2016 hospitalization, where he weighed just 55 pounds, was in acute respiratory shock, and was unable to speak, according to

Now an 18-year-old senior at Jefferson County high school, Ethan explained that his adoptive parents - Richard and Cynthia Kelly - kept him in such poor conditions that he prayed for death.

"I cried every night and prayed for Jesus to end it all," Ethan said during a sentencing hearing for the Kellys.

The couple pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse in 2019.

"I'm not who I used to be," Ethan said. "I'm not even who I was supposed to be. I lived the story of Cinderella with no happy ending."

The Kelly family's other two adopted children, and the family dog, were reportedly well taken care of.

Reports say the family threw a birthday party for the dog while Ethan was kept locked in the basement.

The couple reportedly kept Ethan locked in his basement room - which was filthy and had minimal furniture, not even a bed - for 23 hours a day.

Authorities first became aware of Ethan's condition in November 2016, when Richard Kelly brought him to the hospital.

The child was severely malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from shock, hypothermia and hypothyroidism. He was placed on a ventilator for a week, and alarmed doctors contacted child services about his condition.

Reports say that the boy was nearly dead when he arrived at the hospital, but he miraculously recovered.

The Kellys reportedly had two other children living with them at the time Ethan was hospitalized - Tamara and Jacob - as well as a dog.

All were apparently taken care of on the upper level of the home - with the family even throwing a birthday party for the dog - while Ethan was confined to the lower level alone, according to

Eddie Carter has spoken out about the abuse bis brother, Ethan, experienced at the Kelly home.

"It all changed when I saw Ethan's bedroom," Helene police Detective Sean Boczar said at the sentencing hearing. "I had to second guess myself that someone was actually living in that room."

The room contained a box spring with no mattress, according to Boczar, and two locks and an alarm outside of the door.

There were two windows with dirt-stained curtains, but neither opened.

The teen was reportedly locked up from at least 11pm until morning, when he was granted a supervised trip to the bathroom before being put back in his room.

The parents claimed he was homeschooled, though it's unclear how or if Ethan was actually receiving any education.

Ethan was initially adopted with his brother Eddie by the Kellys in 2007, but they sent Eddie away just a year later, claiming they could not deal with his behavioral issues.

Behavioral issues were also the reason the couple gave for why they locked Ethan away, according to reports.

They claimed that they boy was destructive and that the family dog would bark at him, which is why he was kept in the secluded room.

They also insisted that they fed the boy twice a day, but controlled his eating because he would "eat too much" if they did not restrict him.

Because Richard and Cynthia Kelly agreed to a plea deal, the judge presiding over the sentencing hearing could only give them a maximum of 10 years behind bars - which he did.

Shelby County Circuit Judge William H Bostick claimed, however, that he would have liked to give them much longer sentences.

"Mr and Mrs Kelly, it was in your best interest to enter a plea to this charge because if I had the authority, I would sentence you to a lot more than a 10-year split-two sentence," Bostick said.

"It would be somewhere in the realm of 20 years to life if I weren't constrained by the law," he added.

The couple must serve at least two years in state prison, followed by three years of supervised probation.
Boy wanted to die as 'family tortured him in basement while living upstairs'
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