The great-grandmother of a 4-year-old boy found chained, malnourished and beaten in an apartment in Mexico says she had believed he was being raised by his father.
Virginia Sanderson was there for her grandson's birth at Palomar Hospital in Escondido, California, she told NBC 7. She even helped raise him for a while.
"Just a little sweet, innocent,” Sanderson recalled.
On Tuesday, June 27, authorities rescued the boy from an apartment in Mexico City. Two people, identified as an aunt and uncle, were arrested.
The boy was admitted to the hospital with multiple injuries. A photograph released by authorities showed a silver chain binding his thin legs.
"It's just not right. It's not right at all. Somebody has got do something," Sanderson said.
She added, "We have to pray for him. That's the most important thing for his safety."
She told NBC 7 that her granddaughter had lost custody of the child and she thought the boy was being raised by his father in Mexico. But she saw her great-grandson's father in Escondido, just two weeks ago.
Mexico City's prosecutors believe the boy is an American citizen. The U.S. Embassy has yet to determine if that is true, though Sanderson said she has proof.
"He's a citizen of the United States and he should be here. They had no right to send him away, out of this country. No right at all," Sanderson said.
The family knows the child is hospitalized and being treated for several injuries.
It is still unclear how he ended up in Mexico City.
No further information is available.