ELDORA, Iowa—An Iowa woman convicted on charges related to confining her boyfriend’s 8-year-old son under basement stairs has been sentenced to jail and a small fine.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports Traci Lynn Tyler was sentenced Friday to up to a year in jail, following her April 10 conviction on misdemeanor false imprisonment.
She had been charged with kidnapping but a judge convicted her of the lesser charge.
BREAKING: Traci Lynn Tyler (L) and Alex Craig Shadlow (R) charged w/ 1st Degree Kidnapping in Hardin County. According to documents, Shadlow’s son was kept in 6×6 area under stairs, denied food. Boy’s school reported to DHS during 2017-18 school year. #iacourts pic.twitter.com/OgHAxOIQmv
— Mario Rossi (@mariovrossi) July 18, 2018
Prosecutors say Tyler and the boy’s father, Alex Shadlow, locked the child in a space beneath the basement stairs of their Ackley home.
Authorities say the boy’s school alerted investigators to the abuse which occurred between July and September 2017.
Investigators allege the boy was locked for at least 9 hours a day in an enclosed 6-foot square space under the basement stairs, where he slept on concrete with no bedding and had no access to a bathroom.
Police say Tyler also urged her dog to attack the boy, which left scars on his back and limbs.
Because Tyler served 266 days in jail before her conviction, she may only serve another three months. That time could be reduced for good behavior. She was fined $315.
Shadlow is awaiting trial.
According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, approximately 200,000 children are kidnapped each year by a family member.
Child custody experts say that people kidnap their own children to force a reconciliation or continued interaction with the other, left-behind parent; to spite or punish the other parent; from fear of losing custody or visitation rights.
In rare cases, the kidnapping may occur to protect a child from a parent who is believed to be abusing the child.
Common warnings signs include the other parent threatening abduction, suspected abuse, or paranoid delusion.