Kenneth and Kelly Fry of Osceola, Iowa were arrested last week for neglecting two children (an 8-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy) they adopted from Ghana, according to the Des Moines Register.
The couple, who are the parents of seven children, faces charges of neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, child endangerment causing bodily injury and child endangerment.
The two children have been removed from the home and have given an account of the conditions in which they say they were forced to live to local officials. According to the children’s statements, they were forced to use a plastic bucket as a toilet.
An alarm was reportedly added to their bedroom doors after the children were caught sneaking to get food. The girl reported she wasn’t fed adequately and told investigators she was “hungry.”
The couple disciplined the children by forcing them to do squats and pushups, and would withhold meals from them if they didn’t clean their toilet buckets outside. The children told officials the couple would feed them oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner but the other children in the house had better food options.
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A state Department of Human Services caseworker contacted officers after receiving a child abuse complaint the day prior, brought by a neighbor who claimed the two children knocked on their door for 45 minutes in tears, begging to be let in. The caseworker said Kelly Fry claimed the children chose to use the buckets as toilets.
A week after leaving the home, the children were placed with relatives and examined by a nurse who found both to be underweight and suffering from malnutrition. The girl weighed 50 pounds, while the boy weighed in at 69 pounds. In the months after leaving the home, the children have undergone therapy and have gained weight.
The Des Moines Register also reports Kenneth Fry is the younger brother of Republican State Representative Joel Fry, of the 27th District. The Frys have been released from Clarke County Jail on $17,000 bond. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office will prosecute the case.