Iowa boy, 16, found emaciated with deformity, adoptive parents starved, beat him for wetting bed he was zip-tied to

The investigation revealed the boy was confined to his room for months together and even tied down to his bed using zip ties. He suffered from 'bone deformities to a foot', likely caused due to being forced to wear shoes that were too small for an extended period


                            Iowa boy, 16, found emaciated with deformity, adoptive parents starved, beat him for wetting bed he was zip-tied to
Jennifer and Richard Ryan are accused of abusing their adopted son for years (Polk County Sheriff's Office)

POLK COUNTY, IOWA: Jennifer Marie Ryan, 48, and Richard Joe Ryan, 47, are adoptive parents to a 16-year-old child with special needs. He was removed from their home in February by the Department of Human Services, as stated in court documents. At this time, he reportedly only weighed 78 pounds indicating that he was extremely malnourished. 

The child had “severe malnutrition” and had multiple “non-healing abrasions and bruises” according to Blank Children’s Hospital's medical staff. It was alleged that he had endured the said abuse for a number of years. The parents were also accused of tying him to a bed frame and even denying him any food. He was also refused access to the bathroom and when he urinated on the bed as a result, he was punished for that as well. 

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It was also observed that the boy suffered from “bone deformities to a foot” which were very likely caused due to being forced to wear shoes that were too small for an extended period of time. In relation to this alleged abuse, the parents of the 16-year-old now face charges of first-degree kidnapping and neglect of a dependent person in connection with the alleged abuse. 

The Pleasant Hill Police received a call about possible abuse on February 22, when Jennifer had brought her son along with her on a workday to her office at Smith Automotive in Pleasant Hill. The child, who was clearly someone with special needs, was zip-tied to a chair by his left ankle and pants' back belt loop. When the police arrived at the store where Jennifer had been working, the child was seated next to her in the same condition, according to the court documents that were acquired by Oxygen.com. 

The full extent of the abuse that had taken place had been determined in the hospital, which was where he was taken by the Department of Human Services when he was removed from Smith Automotive premises. The investigation also revealed that the son was confined to his room for months together and even tied down to his bed, again using zip ties. Official documents also added that the couple allegedly installed an alarm on his door to alert them if he ever tried to leave the room to go to the restroom.

If the teen did wet his bed because of the restrictions, he was punished by the parents who would remove his mattress and blanket and force the teen to sleep on the floor. It was also alleged in the report that the parents would deny him any food and only give him lunch or dinner and that would usually be leftovers from the previous day. 

A wooden back scratcher was used to strike the boy and harm him physically. When the pandemic hit, she would bring her child over to the office and confine him to his chair and not allow him to use the washroom or even drink water, said police. It was also revealed that the boy's biological mother was abusing alcohol at home when she lost custody of her son. This was when the boy was seven, and the Ryans adopted the boy. Shelly Green, the mother, said, "We were living on space heaters. I couldn’t afford propane at the time," and added, "If I would have ever known something like this was happening to him, I would have done something a lot sooner."

Green's two daughters have been adopted by their paternal grandmother Julie Reben in 2012, however, the boy is not her biological grandson, so she was refused custody. Now, however, Green and Reben have gotten in touch with Iowa Department of Human Services to try to gain custody of the teenager.

Green said, "I know he is going to be traumatized, and I know the pain isn't going to go away on its own, but with our love I know this will work."

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