Parents of teen charged with child abuse

Date: 2007-06-09

Parents of teen charged with child abuse

Published: Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 12:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Winston-salem | The parents of a 13-year-old boy were charged with child abuse after authorities said the boy was locked in his room all day, given minimal food and weighed only 87 pounds.

Paul Joseph Salvetti, 44, and Debbie Sue Salvetti, 38, both of Kernersville, turned themselves in to police Thursday. Each faces one charge of felony child abuse inflicting serious injury and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Debbie Salvetti also faces a felony abuse charge for inflicting serious "emotional and mental injury" to her son, according to an arrest warrant.

"There's two sides to this thing, and there are some things the Salvettis are looking forward to explaining to the courts," said Ken Tisdale, the Salvettis' attorney.

Police began investigating after the boy ran away from home in May. He told police he had been locked in his room for days and allowed out only for a few minutes to eat dinner, according to a search warrant.

A Child Protective Services investigator took the boy from the home May 11.

Investigators said the boy was given only a bologna sandwich, a pack of crackers and an apple until he was fed at dinner. He weighed 87 pounds when he spoke to police officers, two pounds lighter than two years ago.

The boy gained 10 pounds in four days after being taken to a hospital. The boy said his room's window was boarded up and the door was locked from the outside, and that he kicked a hole through the wall to get out.

The boy told police he was supposed to be home-schooled, but the only thing he did that resembled schoolwork was writing in a journal, authorities said.

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