Woman Accused Of Starving, Torturing Boyfriend's 8-Year-Old Son & Videotaping Abuse

Prosecutors allege that Alex Shadlow and Traci Tyler locked the boy in a room under the stairs for nine hours a day in the summer of 2017.

February 07, 2019

Alex Shadlow, Traci Tyler [Hardin County Jail]

Alex Shadlow, Traci Tyler [Hardin County Jail]

By: Catherine Townsend

ACKLEY, IA — Horrific new details have emerged in the court case of an Iowa woman who is accused of helping torture her boyfriend's eight-year-old son and videotaping the abuse.

Prosecutor Tyler Buller told the judge that 40-year-old Traci Tyler can be seen on tape watching the boy until "he eventually loses control of his bodily function and urinates."

She and the boy's father, 30-year-old Alex Craig Shadlow, were charged with kidnapping after the boy was "subjected to physical and mental torture" in the basement of the couple's Ackley home.

Prosecutors allege that Tyler and Shadlow locked the boy in a room under the stairs for nine hours a day in the summer of 2017. The couple withheld food from the boy and locked the kitchen door to limit the boy's access to food.

In court, one teacher said he looked "like a skeleton" when he arrived for the first day of third grade, according to the Des Moines Register.

The boy, who is now in fourth grade, told authorities that the couple restricted his food intake, made him sleep on concrete, and forced him to use a tin cup for a toilet. He stated in court that Tyler hit him with the wire handle of a flyswatter, which police said left him with permanent scarring on his back and limbs.

The boy also explained that the pair blocked the basement exit with a board so that he could not get out — which left him locked in a dark box. One officer referred to the room the boy was locked in as a "dungeon."

Tyler also urged her dog to attack the boy. The animal attacks left scars on his body, according to court documents. He also reportedly suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome.

Court documents detail even further instances of abuse. The couple allegedly beat the boy, forced him to walk with rocks in his backpack, and on at least one instance, Tyler called him the "N-word," according to records.

Police responded to the residence after they got a call from a concerned neighbor.

Tyler's attorney claimed that Tyler was following the advice of medical professionals in requiring the boy to seek permission to use a bathroom due to the fact that he was having “accidents” at home – and claimed that there was “no intent” to cause injury.

If convicted, prosecutors say Tyler could face life in prison.

Shalow is being tried separately. He has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and is due in court on June 24.

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