Iowa parents accused of zip-tying 16-year-old son; teen found weighing 78 pounds
04/22/2021 5:11 pm PDT
PLEASANT HILL, Iowa (TCD) --
A married Iowa couple was arrested Monday, accused of mistreating their teenage son, including allegedly tying him to a chair and depriving him of food.
KCCI-TV reports a witness contacted the Iowa Dept. of Human Services after encountering a 16-year-old tied to a chair at an automotive repair shop in February.
KCCI quotes court documents alleging Jennifer Ryan, 48, brought her 16-year-old son to work with her at at the auto repair shop on Feb. 22. The teen reportedly has special needs.
Ryan allegedly zip-tied her son’s ankle and his belt-loop to a chair near her desk while she worked her eight-hour shift.
The 16-year-old was reportedly hospitalized weighing 78 pounds. Doctors at Blank Children’s Hospital diagnosed him with severe malnutrition.
Police said the teen was "routinely confined" to his room, which had an alarm set on the door, KCCI reports, and said he wasn’t allowed to eat breakfast, but usually ate day-old leftovers for lunch or dinner.
"The teen snuck food and when he was discovered was punished by being deprived food," WHO-TV reports.
The teen was “routinely confined to his bedroom for several months and on occasion restrained to his bed frame by zip-ties,” WHO reports.
The criminal complaint said the teen was often denied permission to leave his room to use the bathroom, which meant he would urinate out the window or wet the bed, for which he was punished, WHO reports.
Doctors said the teen suffered several non-healing abrasions and bruises "from being struck in the face or head with a wooden backscratcher or repeatedly being thrown to the floor," WHO reports.
He also had bone deformities on one foot, possibly from wearing shoes too small for him, KCCI reports.
The couple reportedly also has two daughters. Their conditions were not reported.
Jennifer Ryan and 47-year-old Richard Ryan were arrested Monday, April 19, and charged with first-degree kidnapping, and neglect or abandonment of a dependent person. They were booked at the Polk County Jail and released the same day.
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