Police: Child with disorder abused, kept in 'deplorable conditions'

Police: Child with disorder abused, kept in 'deplorable conditions'

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT) - A couple was arrested after police found their son living in "deplorable conditions" along with evidence suggesting he was tortured.

Michael West, 41, and Vanessa May, 35, both of Poplar Bluff were arrested Sunday following an investigation that began on May 10, according to the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

A news release from PBPD states officers were called to a house in the 1200-block of Harper St. along with an investigator from the Division of Family Services. Officers made contact with West and May there.

While investigating, officers found a 12-year-old boy who was kept in an "empty bedroom with concrete floors and no lighting," the news release states.

Officers described the house as "infested with cockroaches and piled with debris that allowed limited usable living space."

The boy, who has Asperger syndrome, had several suspicious scars and bruises, according to PBPD.

Medical professionals noted the boy had suffered "severe wasting of soft tissue with loss of both subcutaneous fat and muscle tissue."

According to the police department, medical evaluations found evidence of "severe physical abuse...suggestive of torture" that run the risk of serious medical complications, including death.

The boy was taken to a St. Louis hospital for treatment.

Probable cause statements were filed and warrants were later issued for the arrest of the couple.

On Sunday, West and May were arrested in the 100-block of Neat St.

Both were booked into the Butler County Justice Center.

West's bond was set at $500,000 cash only on charges of abuse to a vulnerable person, two counts of child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

May's bond was set at $250,000 cash only.

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