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Parents injure son while cutting off handcuffs, police say

HOUSTON – A 3-year-old boy was taken to the hospital after his parents used a saw and grinder to remove handcuffs from his legs, police say.

On Aug. 19, Steven McGaha, the father of the boy, found his son had put handcuffs on his legs and lost the key, according to court documents.

McGaha called Savanna Coats, the boy’s mother, to come back to the home on Hopper Road to help look for the key, police said.

The parents looked for the key for five hours. They noticed his legs were losing circulation, so they decided they should cut off the cuffs, according to court documents.

“We didn’t want to get the cops involved, because we knew what would happen,” McGaha said.

McGaha held the boy down while Coats tried to use a reciprocating saw, knife sharpener and, ultimately, was successful when she used a grinder, police said.

According to court documents, it took another five hours to get the cuffs off. During the many attempts to cut them off, the boy was burned and cut by the grinder as it dug into his skin.

Police said the parents did not immediately take the child to get medical assistance until four days later on Aug. 23, when the child had contracted infections on both legs.

“I know we should have taken him on the first day, but we didn’t,” McGaha said.

Police said that the handcuffs had a universal key, and if the parents would have contacted first responders, the cuff could have been removed immediately.

According to Dr. M. Donaruma, a child abuse pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital, the child’s scarring and injuries will be permanent and will cause disfigurement and complications as he grows taller.