COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — An 11-year-old boy who was found wandering in the street early Tuesday told authorities he was running away from home because he had been physically abused.
A passerby called the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office around 2:30 a.m. after noticing a child walking eastbound along CR 380, east of CR 681 in Columbia Township, north of Bangor.
The 11-year-old boy initially ran away from responding deputies because he was afraid they would take him home, according to court records. He refused to go back to the two mobile homes where he lived with his mother, her boyfriend and the boyfriend’s family.
The boy eventually told authorities that he was not fed and was frequently chained to the floor with metal cuffs around his wrists, court records say. He also said he had been hit with a belt. Deputies say they found bruises on the boy’s torso that were consistent with his account. He was also “extremely malnourished,” according to the sheriff’s office.
The boy’s mother’s boyfriend Randal Hamilton, 28, and Hamilton’s 46-year-old mother Peggy Hamilton were arrested for the alleged abuse and are being held at the Van Buren County Jail.
Wednesday afternoon, Randal Hamilton was arraigned on charges of first-degree child abuse, torture and possession of marijuana after drugs were found in one of the trailers where his family lives. Peggy Hamilton was arraigned on charges of first-degree child abuse and torture. Bond was set at $1 million each.
The alleged abuse happened at the two mobile homes in the 17000 block of 60th Street in Geneva Township, about two miles from where the boy was found, authorities say. It allegedly started in June after the family moved there from Florida.
“Deputies were able to search the residence and they found the metal clamps used to nail (the child) to the floor. These clamps are straps approximately 1 inch wide with holes approximately an inch apart. They were molded around his wrists and then nailed to the floor with spikes,” a sheriff’s department official testified in court Tuesday.
The 11-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sibling were both removed from the home by Children’s Protective Services. The 11-year-old was treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries.
Peggy Hamilton’s husband Randy Hamilton told 24 Hour News 8 his wife is innocent and that the 11-year-old boy is trouble. He said that the child frequently lies and has been caught stealing from neighbors in the past.
And suspect Randal Hamilton’s twin brother — also named Randy Hamilton — told 24 Hour News 8 that the boy was not abused.
“They said he had marks on him, he was chained to the floor, his whole wrist and arms. His legs was bleeding. He didn’t have none of that on him,” the twin brother said. “None of that ever happened. None of it.”
The Hamilton family places blame on the boy’s mother.