Abused and starved 11-year-old boy kept in a basement for years “cried every night and prayed to die”

The couple would pour salt and alcohol on the boy's open wounds.


Brothers Eddie Carter and Ethan Kelly were over the moon when they were finally adopted back in 2007. Little did they know, however, that their life will turn into a living hell under the care of their new parents, Richard and Cynthia Kelly.

The boys were kept locked in the basement, beaten, starved, and intimidated, while everyone else was living in the house.

Around a year after the adoption was complete, the abusive couple decided to give Eddie away, but sadly, his brother left in the house of horror and experienced the unimaginable. During the court hearing against his abusers, Ethan recalled how he was forced to spend 23 hours a day in the basement. There was a camera that didn’t work there, but Richard and Cynthia convinced the boy that they were watching his every move.

Posted by Gabriel’s Tree: A Tribute to Abused, Missing and Murdered Children on Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Ethan was severely bitten with belts and wooden paddles and was forced to hit his head against the wall. His fragile body was full of open wounds on which the two psychopaths would put salt and alcohol. In the food they gave him, the Kelly’s would often put very hot sauce and made poor Ethan run laps around the house, as reported by AL.com.

“This wasn’t the dream. I cried every night and prayed for Jesus to end it all,” Ethan said in court, as reported by New York Post. “They told me I was a bad child. They told me no one loved me or would ever love me.”

Posted by Gabriel’s Tree: A Tribute to Abused, Missing and Murdered Children on Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Ethan’s suffering only came to light when he was brought to hospital one day. He was adopted when he was just 11, and was 14 at the time he was seen by the doctors who were left in complete shock by the severity of his health condition. Ethan only weighted 55 pounds.

The Kellys defended themselves by saying that they didn’t mean to hurt him, they only did “what we thought was best.”

Posted by Marlei Martinez on Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Ethan is now an 18-year-old man who is studying at Jefferson County high school. Four years after he was taken to hospital and the story about his life came to light, he faced Richard and Cynthia at court and said: “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 abusers were only given 2 years in prison.”It would be somewhere in the realm of 20 years to life if I weren’t constrained by the law. But I am,” said Shelby County Circuit Judge William H. Bostick.

As for Ethan, he decided it would be for the best if he left his past behind and do all in his power to move on. As reported by AL.com, his last words to the people who made his life miserable were: “Even though you’ll never say, ‘I’m sorry,’ I forgive you.”