A 70-pound Teen Arrived At A Hospital, Terribly Injured. Four Family Members Were Charged

Four members of a rural Iowa family are accused of kidnapping and abusing an 18-year-old relative who was handcuffed to a bed and beaten so badly that he had brain bleeding and multiple broken ribs and who weighed only 70 pounds (32 kilograms) when he arrived at the hospital earlier this year, according to court documents.

On Monday, authorities charged Gary Graham Jr., 44, Danielle Graham, 42, Aaron Williams, 20, and a 16-year-old girl from Zearing, Iowa, with first-degree kidnapping and deliberate harm. They have a preliminary hearing on March 29. According to court papers, a judge imposed an order banning them from contacting the alleged victim. The Associated Press charges the teen girl as an adult, but won’t name her because of her age.

The public defender’s office supervisor in Story County promised to assign defense attorneys, but they haven’t done so yet.

The house is at the end of a residential street in Zearing, a 500-person town located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Des Moines. There are farmlands, windmills, and dirt roads nearby. Stickers decorated the ranch-style home’s front and side doors, while Christmas lights remained on the roof. A dog barked inside, but when a reporter knocked on the door, no one replied.

The claims shocked the community, Story County Sheriff’s Capt. Nicholas Lennie said Tuesday.


“It is tragic. “It has shocked our entire community, and rightfully so,” Lennie explained. “It is not common for one human being to abuse another in this manner, let alone a family member. Unfortunately, the victim in this case endured months of torture and restraint in what most of us consider to be our safe havens—our homes.”

Court filings do not specify the teenager’s relationship with the other family members, but an application for a search warrant stated that Gary Graham Jr. is not the teenager’s biological father. Lennie refuses to comment on the specific relationships.

Lennie says the adolescent is “still recovering and will be for quite some time” after his release from the hospital.

On Jan. 27, an Ames hospital notified the sheriff’s office of an 18-year-old patient who was very malnourished and had many injuries, such as brain bleeding, rib fractures, bruising, and cuts all over his body. An affidavit submitted in the case stated that the kid arrived at the hospital in a “semi-conscious to unconscious state.”

According to the paper, medical personnel assessed that the injuries were in varying states of healing, indicating that they did not occur all at the same time.

Danielle Graham told police, according to the court filing, that she and Williams drove the teenager to the hospital. She stated that she and Williams drove the teenager to the hospital.

However, the affidavit claimed that a search request uncovered cell phone messages, videos, and images that demonstrated the 18-year-old had never left the house and had suffered abuse at the hands of his relatives.

The teenager informed detectives that Gary Graham Jr. and Williams physically abused him. He asserted that Gary Graham Jr. and Williams would shackle him to his bed at night and often during the day, without providing any assistance. Police stated Danielle Graham’s Amazon.com order showed the purchase and delivery of handcuffs, shackles, and a handcuff key.

An officer noted in the search warrant application that a guidance counselor told him the adolescent was doing his coursework online but wanted to attend classes in person.

The counselor gave police an email from October 19 in which the adolescent begged the counselor to “email my mom and ask if I can come to school” for lessons, adding, “Don’t say it was my idea, please and thank you.”

The adolescent wrote to the counselor again a week later, claiming, “They won’t have me go unless it is required,” followed by, “Can you require me to go to school?” according to the search warrant application.

Court documents reveal that Gary Graham Jr. spent two years in prison following his second domestic assault conviction in 2009. Separately, the court changed Gary Graham Jr.’s divorce agreement with another woman in 2017 to grant her sole custody of a child, citing Graham’s abuse.

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Jimmy Clyde
Jimmy Clyde
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