Mom and Grandmother Both Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison After Chaining Boy to Door

Danielle Nicole Martin and Vickie Seale Higgenbotham pled guilty to aggravated child abuse

Dannielle Nicole Martin and Vickie Seale

A mother and grandmother of a boy with special needs, who was found naked and chained to a door in an Alabama home, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The boy’s mother Danielle Nicole Martin, 32, and grandmother Vickie Seale Higgenbotham, 58, each received the maximum sentence for their charge after pleading guilty to aggravated child abuse, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

The child’s stepfather Joshua David Martin, 26, was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to child abuse, while the boy’s uncles — Douglas Gene Phillips, 38, and Matthew Allen Phillips, 29 — received six months of unsupervised probation after entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child, according to the local newspaper.

Danielle and Vickie were arrested in 2018 when police received an anonymous call of possible child abuse at a home in Prattville, Alabama, according to Autauga County Sheriff’s Office.

When police went to the residence to investigate, they found a then-13-year-old boy naked with his ankles chained to a door, officials said. At the time, police believed the child had been kept this way for over a long period of time.

The boy and two other children — a 12-year-old and a 5-year-old — were removed from the residence at the time of the arrest, according to police.

Investigators later found that the boy had been previously kept in a dog kennel, but was removed and kept in a small room with a mattress on the floor when he got too big for the crate, WSFA reported.

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During a preliminary hearing in 2018, Autauga County Investigator Steven Geon testified that the boy was severely malnourished when police arrived at the home and was “extremely excited we were there, and that the chains were off,” according to the news outlet.

At Thursday’s sentencing, prosecutors said the victim is now physically recovered and doing well, WSFA reported.

An attorney for Danielle could not be reached by PEOPLE. A lawyer for Vickie did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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