Abused boy, 8, kept locked in chest for days on Dutch campsite

Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton). (Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton))

The parents of an 8-year-old boy found emaciated and neglected on a campsite near Winterswijk last summer, are standing trial on Tuesday. They kept the child tied up and locked into a chest for hours or even days at a time, according to statements by the boy that were read in the court in Zutphen, AD reports.

"When daddy's at work, I'm in the chest. I'm also in the chest when mom is home alone. Since we came to the campsite, I slept in the chest. I always have tie-wraps around my arms and legs, directly around my ankles. The chest is also closed with tie-wraps. Every day tie-wraps", the boy said. "I escaped from the chest quite often. Then daddy put the band around it. I do not like daddy at all." And: "I also had to poop and pee in the chest."

The boy's abuse came to light last summer when he was caught stealing food from the fridge of another campsite visitor. Examination showed that the boy was starved for more than a month, was repeatedly tied up by his hands and feet, and was locked up in a box for days.

The boy's sister gave a confirming statement: "Grandpa and grandma did not know that my brother was sleeping in the chest. The chest was in daddy's van when they came." 

A doctor also revealed his findings in court on Tuesday. He found wounds that indicated untreated ringworm on the boy's legs. His feet were red and swollen, full of spots that indicate infection. Black spots were found between his toes. "He looks like a 5-year-old boy. His ribs can be counted. These signs could fit with child neglect."

The parents of the boy, both 35 years old and from Germany, have been in custody for over a year now. They were previously convicted in Germany for abusing their son, according to AD. The boy was found naked and malnourished in the basement of their home. The father served his sentence for that. The mother hasn't. Which is why they came to the Netherlands. "I was pregnant and did not want to give birth in prison", the woman said to the court. 

The father partly confessed to abusing and neglecting his 8-year-old son. The mother denies knowing anything about it. 

The couple's three children, the boy and his two sisters, are currently staying with a foster family in Germany.