Video: Iowa family members accused of kidnapping, torturing teen in home

Kidnapping news graphic
Share To Your Social Network

In a shocking case from Zearing, Iowa, a community 50 miles north of Des Moines, a family of four faces serious charges after a young man was discovered in a critical condition, leading to widespread alarm within the community.

Gary Graham Jr., 44, Danielle Graham, 42, Aaron Williams, 20, and a 16-year-old female, who are all residents of the small town, were charged with first-degree kidnapping and willful injury on Monday, following the discovery of an 18-year-old male relative severely abused and malnourished. He weighed just 70 pounds when he showed up at a hospital. The incident has prompted a preliminary hearing set for March 29, with a judge already issuing a no-contact order between the accused and the victim. Notably, the teenager involved is being charged as an adult, though her name remains undisclosed due to her age.


Video Courtesy KCCI-TV News 8, Des Moines, Iowa


Story County’s public defender’s office has confirmed that defense lawyers will be appointed for the accused, though assignments are pending. The residential setting of the alleged abuse, a ranch-style home adorned with festive decorations, contrasts starkly with the grim nature of the accusations. This residence is located in Zearing, a community of approximately 500.

The case has deeply affected the local area, with Story County Sheriff’s Capt. Nicholas Lennie expressing the community’s shock and grief. The victim, who has since been released from the hospital, continues to recover from his extensive injuries, which included brain bleeding, broken ribs, and numerous bruises and wounds indicative of prolonged abuse.

Investigations revealed that the victim had been living in a state of extreme neglect and had been subjected to physical abuse by members of his family, contradicting earlier statements by Danielle Graham that the teen had been absent from the home since November. Evidence from cell phone records and an order for restraint devices further contradicted these claims, painting a harrowing picture of the victim’s ordeal.

Furthermore, details emerged about the victim’s attempts to seek help and change his situation, including correspondence with a school counselor expressing a desire to attend school physically, hinting at the extent of his isolation and the control exerted over him.

This case has not only brought to light the victim’s suffering but also raised questions about the capacity for such abuse to occur within a family setting, sparking a broader conversation about safety and vigilance within communities.

Share To Your Social Network