Trial Set for Ankeny Couple Accused of Locking up Two Teens

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — A trial date has been set for a suburban Des Moines couple accused of keeping two adopted teenage children locked in the basement when not at school.

At a hearing Friday, a judge set Feb. 13 as the trial date for 45-year-old Paul Drake and 44-year-old JoAnn Drake. They face charges of false imprisonment and neglect.

The Iowa Human Services Department has removed the 13-year-old girl, 14-year-old boy and a 6-year-old from the home after one of the teens told school officials they were being locked up when not in school.

The Drakes were arrested in early November after turning themselves in.

Police say the children reported being locked in a basement room for three to four weeks as punishment. Food was slid to the children under a locked door. They were locked in after school and on weekends.

The windows to the basement were even boarded up, ensuring the teens could not escape, according to court documents.

The Des Moines Register reports that police were called to the Drake home in Ankeny at least 25 times between February and November on reports that the two children had run away or had hurt their parents or a family member.

Police records show that in February the 13-year-old boy reportedly threw a butter knife at his sister and the teen girl threatened to kill herself in May. Then in June, the Drakes reported that both teens assaulted JoAnn Drake.

Neighbors said problems at the Drake home had become common on the months before their arrest, and the couple appeared to be struggling to control the teens.

"They were worried about the safety of the other kids and themselves," neighbor Maree Ulrich said.

Ankeny Police Chief Gary Mikulec said the Drakes did seek out counseling and those professionals were conducting home visits to help the couple.

Paul and JoAnn Drake remain free on bond while they await trial.
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