CHICAGO (WLS) --Charges were filed late Thursday in a case of alleged abuse on Chicago's Northwest Side.
Police say a 15-year-old boy was allegedly kept in a basement, and police say he was beaten and abused for several days before being freed. The alleged victim's father and another relative were charged with felony kidnapping. But other family members say that what police have deemed criminal was meant as an act of tough love.
Police say a 15-year-old boy was held against his will and beaten by his own family in the 3500 block of West Lawrence in the Albany Park neighborhood.
"My uncle, to protect him, he did what he could to prevent him from going out at night and avoid him dying out in the street," said Diana Bermeo, alleged victim's cousin.
Bermeo says her cousin is the teenage boy who was allegedly confined to the basement of a family business for several days.
Police say he was handcuffed and left alone overnight, struck with a belt, doused with buckets of ice water and bathed with a garden hose.
Bermeo says the boy's father, 40-year-old Jose Quilabaqui, was trying to discipline him after he'd been running with the wrong crowd, she says, and stole money from a relative.
"They just tried to do something right for him, to protect him. But it all came out wrong. It's all over the newspapers that he's the monster. But he's not. He just tried to protect his own kid," said Bermeo.
Police say the teen finally escaped last Monday, a week after the alleged abuse began, reportedly after a worker at the business removed the screws on a back door.
Police say the boy's father and another male relative, 53-year-old Carlos Quizhpi, are now in custody.
"He recognizes himself that it's wrong, too. But there's not much he can do about it. Now he's just in jail," said Bermeo.
Police were called after the boy fled to a siblings' home in the 2900 block of West School Street. All of this is now pitting family members against family members. On Thursday night, Bermeo had a message for her cousin.
"To really think about what he's doing and how he has no one. He doesn't have us anymore because he just betrayed us and his own dad," said Bermeo.
Police say the two men charged are scheduled to appear in bond court on Friday. Relatives say the 15-year-old alleged victim is now staying with his sibling. Eyewitness News was unable to reach either one Thursday night.