ELDORA (AP) — A 9-year-old boy clutched a stuffed animal as he told a judge that his father's girlfriend often withheld food and helped lock him under a staircase in the basement at their Iowa home.
"I couldn't get out" of the basement enclosure, the boy testified in an Eldora courtroom at the bench trial of 40-year-old Traci Tyler.
Tyler and the boy's father, Alex Shadlow, are being tried separately on kidnapping charges, accused of locking the then-8-year-old in the basement of their Ackley home for at least nine hours a day in the summer of 2017.
The boy said the basement was dark and "supercold," and that he was scared because he had been told a dog had died or been buried in the basement where he had to sleep without bedding, The Des Moines Register reported. He also said Tyler hit him with the wire handle of a flyswatter and made him carry a backpack filled with rocks throughout the house.
He acknowledged getting into trouble for climbing onto kitchen counters while trying to find something to eat.
One of Tyler's attorneys, Ted Fisher, questioned the boy about his statements to police, in which he said he had urinated in the home. The boy placed his face in his hands and wiped away tears.
"That's the only naughty thing you did at the house?" Fisher asked when the boy said he climbed on the counters. The boy said he also had "accidents" in the home.
Fisher said the boy had told a doctor that he refused to eat at home because he was fed liver and spinach. Fisher also told the judge that the boy had said he hit himself and pulled out his hair because he didn't want to stay and obey the house rules, which barred lying and stealing.
Police said Tyler acknowledged the boy was locked in the basement because of his "bad behavior and food stealing."
The trial was canceled Thursday because of the frigid winter weather.
Police chase, wrongful arrest, puppy mill: North Iowa crime and courts news for January (with mugshots)
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CERRO GORDO COUNTY - A Davenport man was arrested for eluding law enforcement south of Mason City, reaching speeds as high as 130 mph.
MASON CITY | A Mason City man who hit a man with a vehicle last year was arrested Wednesday for robbery and leading law enforcement on a 45 minute foot chase.
GARNER | A Klemme man who allegedly had methamphetamine, a revolver and a scale in his car when it was stopped in rural Garner faces felony charges.
MASON CITY - A Mason City man was arrested Wednesday for breaking into an apartment and threatening a person with a “stun gun.”
Online searches of Heather Veld's name tell two stories.
MASON CITY | A Mason City man was arrested for leaving a 4-year-old child unattended on the same night he allegedly crashed into a vehicle while drunk in September.
LINCOLN, Neb. — Richard Gathercole, alleged to be the "AK-47 bandit” who robbed a Nebraska bank in 2014, was set to enter a plea Tuesday but instead asked for a different court-appointed attorney and more time to prepare for trial.
FOREST CITY | A Mason City man arrested in a Forest City drug bust in December 2017 has been sentenced to seven days in jail after pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
STACYVILLE - A Stacyville woman was arrested for threatening a woman with a knife in Mitchell County.
OSAGE — An Osage man has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in an attack on a girl in April in which he threw her into a ditch in rural Mitchell County.
GARNER | A Leland man accused of taking items -- including checks and gift cards -- from the mailboxes of rural Hancock County residents has been given a suspended 25-year prison sentence.
CLARION – A North Iowa man was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison after a guilty plea to five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
FOREST CITY | A man who planned to sell marijuana to Waldorf University students has been given probation on a felony charge of drug possession with intent to deliver.
FOREST CITY | A Forest City man accused of using an air rifle to shoot out the window of a school bus occupied by children has received a five-year suspended prison sentence.
MASON CITY - A Mason City woman was arrested for stealing jewelry from a residence she cleaned, documents said.
MASON CITY - A Mason City woman was arrested for hitting a man with a screwdriver Tuesday morning.
MASON CITY - A New Year’s Eve fire at a Mason City dental office is still under investigation, officials said.
ROCKWELL - A Mason City man was arrested after fleeing law enforcement, driving a van through a garage door, possessing meth and more during an hours long incident near Rockwell.
MASON CITY | A Mason City man who assaulted two dependent adults while working as their caretaker was sentenced to up to four years in prison Monday.
NORTHWOOD | A Worth County court ruled animals seized from a North Iowa puppy mill will not be returned, documents said.
MASON CITY - A Mason City woman was arrested for becoming intoxicated and allowing a 2-month-old to “roll off the bed” according to court documents.
The parents of a Charles City man who was killed in a motorcycle accident near Floyd in 2016 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Iowa and Iowa Department of Transportation for negligence in the design of an intersection on Avenue of the Saints.
MASON CITY | Two North Iowa teens were arrested in connection with a December robbery, officials said.
MASON CITY | A Mason City dentist is working to find a temporary location to serve her patients after a fire destroyed her office on New Year’s Eve.
NORTHWOOD | A North Iowa woman accused of running a puppy mill is asking to see animals seized by Worth County after one cat she requested custody of died and another has become ill.
MASON CITY | A Mason City teen was arrested Thursday for a late December robbery, officials said.
FOREST CITY | A break-in was reported at KIOW Radio on Dec. 29, according to the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.
NORTHWOOD | A Minnesota man and woman were arrested for beating a woman at a Northwood hotel in early December.