Iowa couple who locked boy in dark, dungeon-like room will spend decades in prison

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 16, 2019

ACKLEY, Iowa – An Iowa father and his girlfriend will spend up to three decades in prison for locking the man's son in a dungeon-like space under their stairs.

Alex Shadlow and Traci Tyler each received three 10-year sentences Friday. The judge ordered them to be served consecutively.

Last month, Shadlow pleaded guilty to kidnapping and two counts of child endangerment causing serious injury. Tyler pleaded guilty to three counts of child endangerment causing serious injury.

The couple admitted to locking Shadlow's then 8-year-old son in a makeshift room for at least 30 days. The dark, 6-by-6-foot room had cement floors, no furniture or blankets and just a tin can for a toilet. The child spent up to nine hours a day in the space.

The Department of Human Services was alerted when teachers reported the boy was always hungry and had patches of hair falling out.

As punishment, the child was forced to sweep and mop at the bar and grill Tyler worked at wearing a backpack full of rocks, according to criminal documents.

The child told teachers he was locked under the stairs and only allowed out to attend school.