Who is Ethan Kelly? Alabama teen who was starved, tortured by adoptive family wished for 'Jesus to end it all'

A series of pictures shared by Helena police at the court showed Ethan unresponsive, breathing with the help of a ventilator and hooked to a feeding tube when he was first brought to the hospital


                            Who is Ethan Kelly? Alabama teen who was starved, tortured by adoptive family wished for 'Jesus to end it all'
Richard and Cynthia Kelly (Helen Police Department)

SHELBY COUNTY, ALABAMA: Ethan Kelly, an 18-year-old boy from Alabama, who was tortured by his abusive family faced his adoptive parents during a court hearing on Thursday, November 12, for the first time in four years since he was rescued. Richard and Cynthia Kelly were sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum allowed under the charge to which they pleaded guilty.

Who is Ethan Kelly?

Ethan was adopted by Shelby County couple Richard and Cynthia Kelly in 2007, along with his older brother Eddie Carter. Eddie was sent away just a year later, claiming he had behavioral issues that they couldn’t deal with. The couple reportedly kept Ethan locked in a basement room, for almost 23 hours a day, according to a report by Al.

Ethan was rescued after authorities were alarmed on seeing his condition when he was taken to Shelby Baptist Medical Center hospital by Richard on November 13, 2016. He was placed under a ventilator for almost a week and the doctors contacted Helena police. He weighed just 55 pounds at the time and was severely malnourished and dehydrated.

A series of pictures shared by Helena police Det Sean Boczar at the court showed Ethan unresponsive, breathing with the help of a ventilator and hooked to a feeding tube. The pictures reportedly also showed the room he was kept in. It contained only a box spring without a mattress, two locks and an alarm outside of the door, according to the officer. He was kept locked in the room from at least 11 pm till morning and was granted a supervised trip to the bathroom. 

Richard and Cynthia stated behavioral issues as the reason to treat Ethan the way they did. The family also testified that they couldn’t afford his treatment with the $500 they received from DHR. However, District Attorney McBrayer noted that the family had a new car in the garage and went on at least 15 trips and outings every year. 

The report further claimed that the rest of the family lived upstairs under normal conditions and even had a dog. The court documents showed pictures of their dog’s birthday party.

Richard and Cynthia have testified that they did not abuse Ethan and did what they thought was best. "We did not intend to hurt our son. Maybe we missed some signs. If I could do it over again, I would get him help,” Cynthia said. 

Ethan told at the hearing for his adoptive parents, “This wasn’t the dream. I cried every night and prayed for Jesus to end it all. I’m not who I used to be. I’m not even who I was supposed to be. I lived the story of Cinderella with no happy ending.”

The judge concluded the hearing by stating, “Finally, you are permanently barred from ever serving as a foster or adopting a child. That is a condition I think will stem naturally from this sentence, but I’m imposing it as a condition of this sentence. You are not fit to care for children.”

Ethan is now a senior at Jefferson County High School.

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