ANKENY, Iowa — A mother and father have been charged with false imprisonment after their adopted teenage children told authorities their parents locked them in the basement of their suburban Des Moines home for weeks, allowed them out only for school, and passed their meals under the locked door.

The 13-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy told authorities that the imprisonment was a form of discipline, but no information has been released on why they were being punished. The Iowa Department of Human Services said it removed the teens from the home in Ankeny after one of them told a school employee about their confinement.

The 45-year-old father and 44-year-old mother, who were arrested Wednesday, were also charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person. They each posted $22,000 bond and were released after a few hours.

Police said the children reported being locked in the basement after school and on weekends for three to four weeks as a form of punishment. It was not clear why the teenagers did not speak up sooner.


"Inmates were allowed to see explicit films" Associated Press, January 08, 2013

IOWA CITY — Administrators let offenders at one of Iowa’s most dangerous prison units watch violent and sexually explicit movies and TV shows for years, despite repeated complaints from a female officer who said it encouraged inmates to sexually harass her.

Murderers, sexual predators, and other men housed at a unit for mentally ill inmates at the maximum-security state prison in Fort Madison were allowed to watch the movies.

Despite correctional officer Kristine Sink’s complaints, administrators told her not to turn off the movies or shows. When she did, they accused her of insubordination, according to records.

One warden blamed Sink for causing problems by complaining, and another supervisor suggested her outfits — a standard-issue uniform — were enticing inmates.

Sink said she has fought a lonely battle under four wardens against movies that caused inmates to become sexually aggressive — through ‘‘10 years of misery.’’ She filed a lawsuit Nov. 30 against prison officials alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace retaliation, seeking damages. ‘‘It’s inconceivable. If I had not lived through it myself, I wouldn’t believe this,’’ she said.

Sink, who started at the prison in 2003, said the movies played multiple times a day for a week on a television in a common area where 45 inmates could watch.


"Body believed to be kidnapped girl, 15

BOONE, Iowa — Authorities planned to conduct an autopsy Saturday on a body found in a river that is believed to be that of a 15-year-old girl who was abducted more than two weeks ago. Investigators are confident that the body found Friday night in the Des Moines River is that of Kathlynn Shepard, who was abducted in Dayton, about 20 miles north of Boone, on May 20 (AP)."

"Body of abducted Iowa teen found in river" Associated Press,  June 10, 2013

DES MOINES — Authorities confirmed Sunday that a body found in the Des Moines River was that of a 15-year-old Iowa girl who was abducted along with a younger friend after getting off a school bus last month.

An autopsy confirmed the body found Friday night under a bridge near Boone is Kathlynn Shepard’s. Her kidnapping on May 20 in the small city of Dayton led to a massive search involving federal, state, and local authorities.

Chief state medical examiner Dr. Julia Goodin said Sunday that Shepard’s death was a homicide and that she died of ‘‘multiple sharp and blunt force injuries.’’ The autopsy was completed a day earlier.

Residents of Dayton, about 60 miles north of Des Moines, had braced for the news. Investigators had thought the body — concealed by debris when discovered by a fisherman — was Shepard’s. Clothes matched what the high school freshman was wearing when a man lured her and a 12-year-old friend into a pickup truck.

Authorities also found zip ties matching ones used to restrain the younger girl, who managed to escape and call 911.

‘‘Today our family has lost part of its soul — not just the Shepard family but the families of Dayton and all of Iowa,’’ the Shepards said in a statement.

Authorities said Shepard and her friend were lured into a pickup that police believe was driven by registered sex offender Michael Klunder. They said Klunder took the girls to a hog confinement facility where he worked, and the 12-year-old girl was able to get away.

Klunder, 42, was found dead hours later at another rural property. Authorities said he hanged himself.

Gerard Meyers, assistant director of field operators for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said Sunday that authorities believe Klunder acted alone.


Related: Iowa Abduction

Also seeAuthorities ‘confident’ bodies are 2 Iowa cousins

"Iowa man saves couple stuck on tracks" Associated Press, August 03, 2013

AMES, Iowa — An Iowa man is being hailed as a hero for pushing an elderly couple’s stalled car from a railroad crossing with a freight train bearing down on them.

Chris Ihle, 38, said he was returning from lunch Wednesday and had just parked his motorcycle at the Wells Fargo Bank in Ames where he works when he noticed that a Pontiac Bonneville was sitting frozen in the nearby rail crossing with a train approaching.

Ihle ran over and screamed at the couple inside, 84-year-old Marion Papich and his 78-year-old wife, Jean, to move, but they didn’t.

‘‘They just sat there and the train was coming,’’ the father of three told The Des Moines Register.

Ihle tried pushing the car forward, but it wouldn’t budge. So he moved to the car’s front and told Marion Papich to make sure it was in neutral. He then dug in his cowboy boots and heaved as the train bore down on them with its horn blaring and brakes screeching.

‘‘You could hear it. I even think I could smell it,’’ Ihle said.

Ihle managed to push the car about 5 feet to safety, seconds before the train rumbled by, missing him by inches.

Ihle tried to speak to the couple, but they were too shaken to talk.

‘‘It’s all still kind of a blur to me,’’ Ihle said. ‘‘Holy cow.’’


Also see: