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Ankeny Couple Accused of Locking Kids In Basement

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Human Services is investigating allegations that an Ankeny couple locked their children in a basement anytime they were not in school for a three to four week period.

Paul Drake, 45, and JoAnn Drake, 44, are each charged with two counts of neglect or abandonment of a dependent person and two counts of false imprisonment.

They are being held in the Polk County Jail.

The DHS started investigating the allegations in September.

Police said the allegations involve a couple who locked their adopted boy and girl, ages 14 and 13, in a basement room for a period of three to four weeks and fed them under the locked door.

The children were locked in the room after school and on weekends, police said. The reports suggest discipline as the reason for locking the children in the basement.

Authorities said the allegations surfaced after one of the children told school officials who then contacted DHS.

Neighbors said the Drakes were always friendly. The said that, other than a loud argument between the couple and one of their six children, they never suspected anything was wrong.

On Oct. 5, Ankeny police said they interviewed Paul and JoAnne Drake. Police said the couple was arrested and charged following a consultation with Polk County prosecutors.

DHS officials said they are not able to comment on the case at this time.

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