Helena couple charged with aggravated child abuse after allegedly ‘torturing’ child

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–A Helena couple has been arrested and charged with aggravated family child abuse after allegedly torturing, willfully abusing and maltreating a child under the age of 18 whom the couple was the legal guardian to.

Richard Kelly

Richard Kelly

The Helena Police Department received a call from the Shelby County Department of Human Resources in regard to a child abuse/neglect investigation and after several hours of interviews and evidence collection the child’s parents were taken into custody, according to the department.

Cynthia Kelly

Cynthia Kelly

The Helena Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested 56-year-old Richard Hobson Kelly and 47-year-old Cynthia Rogers Kelly of Helena on Nov. 14 and charged them with one count each of aggravated family child abuse.

The couple lists an address in the 3000 block of Spruce Drive in Helena.

According to arrest warrants, Richard and Cynthia allegedly “tortured, willfully abused, cruelly beat or otherwise willfully maltreated a child under the age of 18 by depriving the child of food, nourishment and medical care by keeping the child in forced isolation for an extended period of time.”

The warrants also state that this was allegedly done “on more than one occasion causing serious physical injury to the child including severe chronic malnourishment, shock, acute respiratory distress, hypothermia and hypothyroid disease.”

Shelby County Schools public relations supervisor Cindy Warner confirmed on Nov. 15 that the boy was never enrolled as a student in the Shelby County School District.

As of Nov. 15, Richard and Cynthia are currently being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $1 million each.

“The victim continues to get medical care and we at the Helena Police Department wish him a speedy recovery and our prayers are with him,” a Facebook post from the department read.

Aggravated family child abuse is a Class B felony, and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to Alabama law.