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Affidavit: Iowa family abused adult son for years

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:45 a.m. CST

COUNCIL BLUFFS (AP) — A Council Bluffs family of three adults was arrested Wednesday on kidnapping charges after the father’s 20-year-old son claimed he was severely burned and abused for several years, according to an affidavit.

The court document said the son, who ran away from home around March, was at times starved, chained with a dog leash and forced to sleep while standing.

The son told authorities that his father, James Beyer Jr., 51, and his stepmother, Rebecca Beyer, 45, had abused him for years and threatened to kill him. He said his stepmother often burned him with utensils heated from a kitchen stove.

Workers at Joshua House, a men’s shelter where the son went after leaving home, documented alleged burns on his body. They included at least one scar that was shaped like a clothes iron. The affidavit said a forensic examination indicated the man’s markings were consistent with repeated burnings that could be made by an object like a fork or spoon.

Workers contacted authorities, who visited the Beyers at their home several days later. Both denied the accusations and blamed the marks on the son’s lack of cleanliness.

The victim told authorities that Rebecca Beyer once demanded he choose from three forms of torture: A club with spikes, a sword or a handgun. The victim said he refused.

Rebecca Beyer’s son, Ryan Smith, 22, is accused of punching and kicking the man on previous occasions. The alleged victim said his stepmother instructed Smith to help her with the chaining.

The son was described in the affidavit as “mentally handicapped” but further explanation was not provided.

The Beyers and Smith each face first-degree kidnapping charges. Rebecca Beyer also is charged with willful injury causing serious injury.

Court records did not list attorneys for the couple or Smith, who are being held at the Pottawattamie County Jail on a $100,000 bond. A bond review is scheduled for Thursday.