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Des Moines couple accused of zip-tying teenage son

Jennifer and Richard Ryan have been charged with first-degree kidnapping and neglect of a dependent person.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines couple is accused of starving and zip tying their 16-year-old son with special needs, according to court documents.

Jennifer Ryan, 48, and Richard Ryan, 47, are charged with first-degree kidnapping and neglect of a dependent person.

According to court documents, on February 22nd, Pleasant Hill Police and the Department of Human Services responded to a call to Smith Automotive in Pleasant Hill and found the teen zip-tied to a chair by his left ankle and through a belt loop on his pants. 

Doctors at Blank Children's Hospital diagnosed the teen with severe malnutrition saying he weighed only 78 pounds at the time.

Further investigation found the teen was often denied food and locked in his room with no access to a bathroom. According to police documents, the family placed an alarm on his door to alert his family if he attempted to leave the bedroom. Police say he would be punished if he urinated in his bed and would be forced to sleep on the floor. 

Police say he endured physical abuse often being struck in the face or on the head with a wooden back scratcher or repeatedly thrown to the floor. 

The teen was also found to have several non-healing abrasions from abuse and bone deformities believed to be caused by wearing too small of shoes for too long. 

The Ryans are currently out on bond that was set at 100 thousand dollars.

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