Police say 37-year-old Amia Ervin starved him, denied him medical care, and even beat him with an electrical cord.
The stepfather of the victim told ABC11 that the charges are overblown and will be proven false.
In the meantime, Ervin is behind bars on $500,000 bond. She is accused of treating her 13-year-old son from another father different than her other two children.
The family lives in an apartment in the 9200 block of Bothwell Street in Raleigh's Brier Creek.
In a court hearing Thursday, the prosecutor told the judge that the boy was whipped with belts and electrical cords, denied food and medical care.
It was also alleged that when the family would go somewhere, the boy was often left behind at the apartment -- either locked in a bathroom or out on the deck.
Neighbors say they often saw the boy out on a second floor balcony.
They were shocked to hear that investigators believe the boy had been locked out there often left behind when his mother brother and sister went out.
"He kind of just looked like he was sitting out there reading or something. It never looked like he was in trouble or anything," said an unidentified neighbor: "If he had asked, I would have had no problem dialing 911."
The prosecutor in the case repeated what was told to a judge in a hearing Thursday for Ervin.
"It's one of the worst sort of cumulative physical, emotional abuse cases that we've seen in a long time," said prosecutor Melanie Shekita.
During her hearing at the Justice Center Thursday, Ervin denied that she kept her son from getting medical care.