Neighbors: Couple Sought Help for Troubled Teens

KCCI.com

ANKENY, Iowa — Neighbors said there is more to the story of an Ankeny couple accused of locking their teen children in their basement.

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

Neighbors said the couple tried to reach out for help many times.

Neighbors said the adopted teenagers were out of control and the Drakes were out of options when they locked their two adopted teenagers in a furnished lower level of their home.

A West Des Moines therapist who is not connected to the case, Tim Lambertsen, said it's not usual for children to have difficulty when they come from a background that included drinking and violence.

"Even at an infant stage if they're living in that kind of environment they begin to interact with the world in a very protected or guarded way. They may operate in a system that says there are threats that are around me and then all of a sudden they get put into an environment where there really are no threats but they're behaving in that way from before. They'll still perceive something very simple and innocent as a threat and it takes a lot of work and support to help them understand that this may not be a threat," said Lambertsen.

Neighbors said the Drake's adopted children were acting out in dangerous ways.

What therapy the Drake's sought is unknown, but Lambertsen said the most successful families have as many people in place to help as they can before they even bring a child home.

"The more people you can put in your life the better," said Lambertsen.

Lambertson couldn't comment specifically about the Drake's case, but said parents should have a list of people they can call when they feel things are getting out of control or when they're about to make a major decision that could affect your family for a long time.
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