San Diego

Parents of Boy Found Chained in Mexico Battle for Custody

A boy found beaten, and starved last week in Mexico City is at the center of an international custody battle.

The 5-year-old boy found in chains at a relative’s house was born in Escondido and has dual citizenship.

Now, his parents say they want to care for him when he returns to the U.S.

An anonymous tip on June 28 led officers to the starving, injured boy and with chains wrapped around his legs in a neighborhood outside of Mexico City.

The boy’s father told NBC 7 he would send $500 a month to his sister and brother-in-law in Mexico City to care for the boy.

Pascual Castro, who is a Mexican national, says the last few weeks have been a nightmare.

“An innocent child of 5 years,” the father said in Spanish. “He cannot defend himself.”

Dawn Sanderson, who is estranged from Castro, said she lost custody of her son when he was only 11 months old.

Sanderson, who lives in Escondido, is a U.S. citizen. She’s also seeking custody.

"I'm going to do what I have to do without stopping until the day I have him with me," she said in Spanish to NBC News.

Castro is waiting for the boy to return to San Diego in the next few weeks. He said U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa is helping him with the paperwork.

The sister and brother-in-law face child abuse charges according to Mexican law enforcement authorities.

Now the child may be reunited with his family in the United States or placed in foster care in Mexico City.

Telemundo20 confirmed with Marcela Celorio, the Mexican Consul General in San Diego, that the boy may be placed in foster care at least temporarily.

What ultimately happens depends on the special prosecutor for the rights of children in Mexico City.

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