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Girl Who Was Chained by Her Parents is in Rehab in the Country

October 9, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ For two months the parents of a drug-addicted girl chained her to a radiator to keep her from a life on the streets in the Bronx.

Now her family says she’s adjusted to life at a rehabilitation center in rural New Hampshire and doesn’t want to come back to the city.

″She wants to get away from here, to get a new environment,″ said Eliezer Marrero Jr. of his 15-year-old sister, Linda. ″Everywhere you go in the Bronx, you get pushers, you can get shot.″

Linda entered Seafield Pines in Keene, N.H., two weeks ago and, after some initial rebellion, is doing well, he said.

The family is considering a move from their small, seedy apartment in a poor neighborhood to a rental house in Buffalo, where life is ″more quiet and peaceful,″ he said Tuesday.

Last month, police acting on a tip from child welfare workers went to the Marrero home and found Linda chained at the ankle. The sixth-grade dropout was usually shackled only at night, with enough slack to reach the bathroom.

Frequent crack binges and a near fatal run-in with dealers she had crossed led her parents, Eliezer and Maria Marrero, to take such measures.

The parents were arrested Sept. 13 and initially faced felony imprisonment charges and were held on $100,000 bail.

But after reviewing the case and the parents’ explanation, authorities reduced the charges to misdemeanors and the Marreros were freed without bail.

If the girl does not file a complaint by Dec. 13, the charges will be dropped, said Steven Reed, a spokesman for the Bronx district attorney.

Mrs. Marrero said she petitioned city child welfare agencies for help in keeping her daughter out of trouble six times but received no assistance.

The program at Seafield Pines, which usually costs $16,000 for a 40-day stay, was offered free after the Marreros’ desperate struggle received heavy publicity.

Linda’s brother said she had sent postcards and letters describing the rehab program and the friends she has made.

One postcard reads: ″Dear Mom and Daddy: I’m very happy. I have a cool friend Sharon & I’m getting the help I need 3/8 The people here are really nice 3/8 I miss you 3/8″

A Seafield Pines spokeswoman said the center’s confidentiality policy prohibited her from even confirming that Linda was there.

Mrs. Marrero said that Linda had trouble adjusting at first.

″In the first three days, she didn’t speak to anyone,″ Mrs. Marrero said. ″She got hysterical and smashed a bathroom sink and turned her room upside down. By the third day, she calmed down.″

Now Linda ″loves nature″ after camping out for the first time at the 450- acre facility and has asked her parents to leave the city.

″If that’s what it takes to keep my daughter whole, then we’ll move and start a new life somewhere else,″ Mrs. Marrero said.

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