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Alabama mother admits to chaining up her naked son, 13, and forcing him to sleep in a dog crate for hours at a time

The woman's 13-year-old boy was apparently shackled for 12 to 18 hours on the day that she was arrested. The mother also said she had problems with the boy and not received the help she had wanted.  

Dannielle Nicole Martin, an Alabama woman has pleaded guilty to the aggravated child abuse of her son, who was found by authorities naked and chained up. 

32-year-old Dannielle Nicole Martin, from Autauga Country, entered the plea to aggravated child abuse on Thursday, appearing before Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds, saying she 'made bad decisions and bad judgments', The Montgomery Advertiser reports

"What you just said means to me that you let him use magic markers to write on the walls," Reynolds retorted sharply to Martin's choice of words. "Unless you tell me what the color of the markers were and which wall he marked on, I'm not interested. Now is the time for you to tell me what you did and make it right."

Martin admitted that certain decisions were made that shouldn't have been. "I had problems with my son for a long time, and I wasn't getting the help I asked for," she said. 

"Like chaining him to the door with a padlock?" Reynolds said, as reported by The Montgomery Advertiser. 

"There were other incidents," Martin said. "But he was chained at the ankles when I was arrested."

The boy's stepfather, Joshua David Martin (Image: Autauga County Sheriff's Office)

Autauga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger said deputies were responding to an anonymous report of child abuse in September last year and found the boy chained to a staircase in a Prattville home. The 13-year-old boy was apparently shackled for 12 to 18 hours that day, according to investigators. 

Evidence shows the teenager - who was described as malnourished - had also been forced to sleep in a dog crate for years, prosecutors say.

Two other children in the home, a 12-year-old and 5-year-old, were removed from there in September and are in custody of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. The kids are half-siblings to the 13-year-old boy. 

58-year-old Vickie Seale Higginbotham, the boy's grandmother (Image: Autauga County Sheriff's Office)

The boy's stepfather, 26-year-old Joshua David Martin, grandmother 58-year-old Vickie Seale Higginbotham, and two uncles, 38-year-old Douglas Gene Phillips and 29-year-old Matthew Allen Phillips are also charged in the case and set to go to trial in July. All four pleaded not guilty on Thursday. The co-defendants each face one count of aggravated child abuse. 

According to court documents, Dannielle Martin, Joshua and Higginbotham allegedly performed the abusive acts on the boy. The uncles were charged as accomplices because they did not intervene or report the abuse. 

Martin is to be sentenced in August. 

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