Man chained teen to 150-pound punching bag, deputies say

- A Pasco County man is in jail, accused of abusing a 17-year-old boy and chaining him to a punching bag.

On Tuesday, an alarm went off inside a Land O Lakes home. It wasn't a break-in but investigators did find a crime in progress.

"What this 17-year-old did is actually hit an alarm inside the house that called for emergency services and then, stated that they were chained up to this bag," said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.

When deputies arrived, that's exactly what they found - a teenager chained by his ankle to a 150-pound punching bag. They say he wasn't hurt but showed signs of abuse.

Deputies later caught up with 42-year-old Carlos Alvarez, who is described as a "parental figure." He told deputies he was trying to keep the teen in one place after he'd recently run away to another "parental figure" out of state.

"The parent was probably thinking to himself, what can I do to make sure this child doesn't run away again?" Nocco said. "But, the other side is, it's common sense. It's clearly a person with anger issues. Don't chain your child or the person you're a guardian over to a bag."

"My understanding," said Lt. Steve Frick, "It may have been from Sunday night til Tuesday when the call actually came in. But again, not continuous, not 24 hours a day."

According to the arrest report, Alvarez had previously hit the teen with a belt, "leaving marks on his body" and punched him "multiple times." The weapon type was listed as hands/fist/feet/teeth. Alvarez admitted to the crime.

When we stopped by his home, we met a close friend who said he was in shock by all of this. He describes Alvarez as a veteran and loving father who'd been doing all he could to take care of his family. Two other neighbors said they knew Alvarez as a nice, friendly guy.

"It's tough. Any parent will tell you it's tough," Nocco said.

Nocco said they have nothing on record from Alvarez, regarding problems with the teen. He made it clear that whatever problems there were, this was not the answer.

"There's gonna be parents that will say I've been that frustrated, I've wanted to do that," Nocco said. "Or, they're gonna threaten their kids at home and say I am going to do that to you. We all deal with that frustration but at the same time, it's illegal. It's immoral. And it's unethical."

The teen is in Child Protective custody. Alvarez is charged with Aggravated Child Abuse. He remains in the Pasco County Jail on $100,000 bond.

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