While an Iowa couple's five biological children were living in "typical and age appropriate childhood bedrooms" and eating meals without restrictions, their two adopted kids were forced into a plastic-lined room and could only eat oatmeal, according to court documents.
Parents Kenny and Kelly Fry, 42 and 40, were arrested and charged with child endangerment resulting in bodily injury, neglect of a dependent person and child endangerment, according to the complaint and affidavit obtained by WHO. The Osceola parents were arrested on Sunday, but they have bonded out of jail.
An investigation started in January when a neighbor reported that two kids knocked on her door and were crying to be let in, the affidavit states. The two children, ages 8 and 9, had been adopted from Ghana a few years ago.
A neighbor told WHO that she has lived across the street from the Frys for years and had no idea the couple adopted two kids.
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"I wouldn’t have tolerated knowing something like that was going on with any children at all," neighbor Barbara Holton told the TV station. "It's just not right. I had no clue."
Holton said she would sometimes see kids playing outside of the house and it seemed "perfectly normal," but she never saw and children of color, according to WHO.
It is not said if Holton is the neighbor who is mentioned in the court documents.
The two adopted kids, a girl and a boy, were home schooled and shared a room that was subdivided into two rooms made of wood. The rooms were lined with plastic, and the doors had alarms so the parents would know if the kids were trying to "steal food" from other family members.
"Each room only contained a small plastic mat, a blanket and a small shelf added to the wall," the documents state. There were no personal items, except for a plastic bucket used as a toilet.
Kelly Fry told investigators that they built the plastic-lined rooms because of the adopted kids' bad behavior, KCCI reported.
One of the adopted kids told investigators that they would sneak out because "I'm hungry," the Des Moines Register reported. Court documents said the two kids could only eat oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If they didn't finish the oatmeal, it would be saved for the next meal. A kid told investigators that the other children in the home did not have food restrictions.
The five other children were the Frys' biological kids and they did not face any abuse, WHO reported.
The two children from Ghana told investigators that they were forced to do squats and pushups as discipline if they left their room without permission. They also had to do school work in their rooms, take daily naps and go to bed early.
The Des Moines Register reported that the two kids were placed with relatives. The girl had several wounds that were likely because of a nutrition deficiency, the paper reported, and the boy showed signs of neglect.
Authorities said the children have not showed bad behavior in the three months since they were taken out of the home.
The Register reported that the parents posted a $17,000 bond and were released from the Clarke County Jail. They are due in court for preliminary hearings on July 3, WQAD reported.
Both Kelly and Kenny Fry are well-known in the community, according to KCCI. Kenny is the younger brother of Iowa State Rep. Joel Fry, KCCI reported, and Kelly was a "standout pitcher" for Simpson College in the 1990s.
Court documents say Kenny and Kelly Fry knowingly created a "substantial risk" to the two kids and deprived them of necessary food, clothing, shelter and health care.