EL RENO, Okla. — The 16-year-old adopted son of a Yukon couple accused of abusing their three adopted children took the witness stand at the Canadian County courthouse Tuesday in a case that’s being called one of the worst local authorities have ever investigated.
The teenager testified he would be punished when he would steal dog food to eat, wet his pants or not properly complete chores.
He told the court he ran away from his Yukon home a month after Sonja threatened to douse him with gasoline and light him on fire in the family’s underground cellar.
In November of 2010, the 16-year-old boy was found sleeping in a box behind a Braum’s in Oklahoma City.
Tuesday, he testified he walked and ran 10 miles to get there and later lied to police about where he lived so he wouldn’t have to go back home.
That’s where he said his parents, John and Sonja Kluth, locked him in a six-by-six foot underground cellar every night for more than eight months.
He told the jury he and his two younger siblings were fed dog and cat food but sometimes were starved as punishment.
The teen said he was often forced to stay in a dog crate, as small as three-by-two feet in size, for up to 12 hours.
He showed jurors scars that allegedly resulted from physical abuse, saying he was strangled by the couple and burned with hot spoons.
He testified Sonja bashed his feet with a mallet on a cutting board, used pliers and super glue on his genitalia, and cut his chest with a knife.
He said she talked about “carving my heart out.”
He also said Sonja would force the three adopted children to beat each other.
“She enjoys watching me suffer,” he testified.
Defense counsel had the teen admit that he was disruptive in class and had to be homeschooled.
John and Sonja Kluth are each facing three counts of child abuse and three counts of child neglect.