Paul Fregeau, assistant superintendent with the 19,000-student North Kansas City School District, said news of the teen's condition greatly affected some teachers and staff members.
"I continue to run across people who were extremely moved and touched — some to tears — when they found out what kind of conditions this boy was allegedly subjected to in his home," Fregeau said. "We have some staff getting get-well and thinking-of-you cards together, and now they're trying to figure out how to get them to him."
Anderson said she became friends with the teen after she moved into the apartment complex in August. For the first month, she said she usually saw him playing outside from the time she got up until about 10 p.m.
After that, Anderson said did not see him until she went to his home about two weeks ago and saw him handcuffed to a basement door. Several days later, after hearing loud arguing and strange sounds coming from the house, she decided to contact authorities.
"I heard a lot of fighting and thought probably something was going on over there," Anderson said.
Anderson said she also had become friends with the teen's older stepbrother, who gave her assorted reasons about the teen's disappearance.
"At first he told us he had moved," she said. "Then he said he was grounded, pretty much on house arrest."
The stepbrother also said the boy had gotten into the trash and eaten raw meat, and that he had behavioral problems, Anderson said.
She said she has received messages from the teen's biological family, thanking her for making the call and saying the abuse had been going on for years.