ACKLEY – A man and his girlfriend allegedly kidnapped a child and confined him to a small space with little food and no light, according to court documents.
Alex Shadlow and his girlfriend, Traci Tyler, have been charged with first-degree kidnapping and were booked into the Hardin County jail this week. Local 5 looked through the court documents associated with their charges. Here’s what we found:
Shadlow, together with his girlfriend Tyler, confined his biological son against his will in July and/or August and early September 2017 at his residence in Ackley, Hardin County, Iowa. The male child was locked in an enclosed 6-foot-by-6-foot area under the basement stairs for prolonged periods of time of nine hours or longer each day, court documents allege.
Every morning, the male child would be allowed to go to school across the street. There was no light in the basement enclosure and the floors were made of cement and the makeshift “door” was secured from the outside by a lock, according to the court documents. During the periods of confinement, police say that Shadlow and Tyler did not allow the boy out to use the bathroom. A makeshift toilet made of a small tin coffee can was placed in the enclosure for the child to defecate and urinate in; the boy also urinated on the bare floor where he slept without a pillow, blanket or any such bedding. The enclosure was completely dark.
Court documents read that there wasn’t any bedding in the enclosure and the boy was forced to sleep on the floor each night near or in his own urine. Police say that Shadlow and Tyler had told the child that a “dog had died” or was buried in this same confined space, all of which amounted to the knowing infliction of mental torture.
Police state in the court filing that throughout this time, the boy was also deprived of food by both Shadlow and Tyler, which included locking the door to the kitchen to prevent him access. According to police, Tyler repeatedly assaulted the child with the handle of a fly swatter and urged their dog to bite and attack the boy. According to the documents, as a result of the repeated physical assaults by Shadlow and/or Tyler, the child sustained permanent scarring on his back and limbs, along with complications of post-traumatic stress symptoms. The child was removed from the home only after teachers observed his repeated food-seeking, low body weight, hair falling out in patches.
Court documents report that teachers and school administrators reported that in the start of the school year the child was a quiet boy, a loner, a good student and always hungry causing school personnel to have great concern for his welfare.
Police state in the documents that the boy eventually told his teacher he was being locked in the basement under the stairs after school each day and not released until the next morning. The school made a report to DHS which lead to an unannounced home visit. The DHS worker observed and photographed the enclosure under the basement stairs and Tyler admitted it was where Shadlow and she locked the boy because of his bad behavior and food-stealing.