Iowa couple accused of feeding adopted kids only oatmeal, confining them to plastic-lined rooms
OSCEOLA, Iowa – An Osceola couple is facing charges after investigators say they neglected and endangered the health of two children they adopted from Ghana.
Online court records show 42-year-old Kenny Fry and 40-year-old Kelly Fry are each charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, child endangerment-bodily injury, and child endangerment.
An affidavit in the case says a DHS caseworker was called in to investigate alleged abuse at 600 S. Main, the Fry residence, on January 30, 2018. Law enforcement was called in to assist in the investigation.
Officers learned the report was made by a neighbor following an incident the day before, where two children, ages 8 and 9, knocked on the neighbor’s door for about 45 minutes while crying to be let in.
The affidavit says officers discovered the two children were two of Kenny and Kelly Fry’s seven children, and the two had been adopted from Ghana a few years prior.
During the investigation, officers determined the other children in the home had “typical and age appropriate childhood bedrooms.” A bedroom shared by the two adopted children, who were homeschooled, had been subdivided by wood, and the rooms were lined in plastic. The doors had alarms on them and the rooms contained a small plastic mat, a blanket, and a shelf on the wall. No other furnishings or personal items were inside. Each room also contained a plastic bucket to be used as a toilet.
Kelly Fry told investigators she and her husband decided to construct the room months prior because the children were defecating and urinating in their rooms. She also said the alarms were on the doors because the children were sneaking out to steal food and steal from other family members.
A physical examination done at Blank Children’s Hospital determined the children were malnourished and their growth had likely been stunted by nutritional neglect.
The two kids were removed from the home January 30th and placed with family members. The affidavit says the children did not exhibit any of the behavior in the relatives’ home that the Frys had spoken of. One of the children gained 8 pounds in three weeks after being removed from the Frys’ care.
Investigators say during interviews with the children they were told the Frys required them to spend most of their day in their rooms. They were also only fed oatmeal, while the other children in the home were not restricted dietarily. The kids said they were also forced to do physical exercise as punishment, such as squats and push-ups.
Kenny and Kelly Fry were arrested Sunday and have already bonded out of the Clarke County Jail. Preliminary hearings for them have been scheduled for July 3rd.