A Missouri couple was charged with child abuse after their 12-year-old son escaped home after they forgot to handcuff him to bed.

According to the court documents released Friday (May 15), the boy was found walking along the highway by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper earlier this month. The boy, who had swollen eyes and forehead, told the officers that he had escaped his home after his parents forgot to handcuff him to his bed. The boy was taken to a hospital. Medical tests revealed that he suffered from refeeding syndrome, a metabolic condition. The condition occurs when a person is starved, severely malnourished, or metabolically stressed due to severe illness.

Investigation revealed that the couple used to beat the boy with a belt and they had withdrawn him from school about three months ago so that nobody saw his injuries. A search warrant was executed on their home during which the detective found handcuffs attached to the boy’s bed.

The boy’s father, 40-year-old Christopher Crets, and step-mother, 33-year-old Nicole Crets, were taken into custody and charged with felony child abuse. Christopher was additionally charged with kidnapping and four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. They were being held at the Warren County jail without bail and were scheduled to appear in court on May 27.

Meanwhile, speaking about the incident, Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison told KSDK, “He’s very fortunate, he's walking in traffic, he’s just wanting somebody to stop and help them and a state trooper just happened to be the car coming down the highway. It just was an answered prayer for him.”

“It was definitely this boy's time to be rescued. I mean, when you're hitting a little guy or hitting anybody in the face and on the head, I mean, it's just a miracle that this boy wasn't seriously injured…His eyes were swollen, his forehead was swollen, this boy was beaten and tortured at the hands of mom and dad so I'm very happy that he slipped out and I'm glad the trooper was there and that my detectives and deputies were able to be part of rescuing him from the situation,” he added. The boy as of now is in protective custody.

handcuffs-3655288_640 Representational image of a handcuff. Photo: Pixabay