• A private citizen alerted the authorities after seeing the boy zip-tied to a chair
  • The boy was taken to a hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with malnutrition
  • It was also found that the boy had several non-healing abrasions and bruises
  • Jennifer and Richard Ryan, the boy's parents, have been charged with kidnapping

An Iowa couple was charged Monday with the neglect of their 16-year-old special needs son who had been found zip-tied to a chair at his mother's workplace.

Jennifer Ryan, 48, and her husband Richard Ryan, 47, both face one count of first-degree kidnapping. On Feb. 22, Jennifer reportedly brought their son to her workplace, where she zip-tied the boy to a chair next to her by his left ankle and the belt loop of his trousers.

A private citizen got in touch with the Iowa Department of Human Services after seeing the boy zip-tied to the chair, Pleasant Hill Police Detective Tim Brown said, according to a KCCI report.

Police were then contacted and the boy, identified as J.R. in court documents, was taken to Blank Children's Hospital, reported KITV. Medical examination revealed that the teenager, who weighed only 78 pounds when he was admitted, was severely malnourished.

"Further investigation found that J.R. was routinely confined to his bedroom for several months and on occasions restrained to his bed frame by zip ties," court documents said as per KITV.

The boy's parents restricted him from using the restroom at night and placed an alarm at his door to alert the family each time he would leave the room. As a result, the teenager had to urinate outside of his window or had to wet his mattress.

The boy was not given breakfast and often had only dinner and lunch that consisted of leftovers from the previous day. The boy then used to sneak food when he could and hide it in the bedroom. But his parents punished him by depriving him of meals each time they discovered his stash.

Investigators also learned that the boy had several non-healing abrasions and bruises, including bone deformities to one of his feet caused by wearing shoes that were too small for him. He endured beatings as well, the Des Moines Register said in a report.

"He also endured physical abuse often being struck in the face or on the head with a wooden back scratcher or repeatedly thrown to the floor," court documents said further.

Jennifer reportedly brought the teenager to her workplace on days when her husband also had to go to work.

"While at work with Jennifer, the teen was zip-tied to the chair for the duration of Jennifer's 8-hour work schedule, deprived of water and not allowed to use the restroom," according to court documents.

Jennifer and Richard were both booked into the Polk County Jail. They are awaiting their initial court appearance.

The boy was brought to Jennifer’s work and she then zip tied him to a chair next to her by his left ankle and belt loop of his trousers. pixabay