Couple who adopted 9 special-needs children charged with abuse after 68 police reports

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-29 09:23:51-04

An Iowa couple who have adopted nine children have been charged with child endangerment for allegations of physical abuse after the police made 68 reports about the couple, the Des Moines Register reported. 

John Elmer Bell, 55, and Joyce Marie Bell, 57, of Ankeny, Iowa were charged with felony child endangerment on Thursday. 

Videos shot by the couple's adopted 21-year-old daughter allegedly show physical abuse of her adoptive brother. The Register reported that Krystal Bell turned the videos over to authorities after discreetly taping the abuse. 

One video shot by Krystal Bell allegedly shows John Bell hitting the couple's 16-year-old mildly autistic adoptive son. The Register reported that the Ankeny Police first learned of the videos in March 2016. 

Reports of violence allegedly date back to at least 2009. 

The Register reported that The Bells adopted children with disabilities who range now in age from 16 to 38. Iowa’s Department of Human Services reportedly removed two teens from the home earlier this month. 

The Register reported that adoptive parents receive state subsidies for taking guardianship of children. Although state officials would not say how much the Bells were receiving in subsidies, guardianship of nine special needs children could pay up to $110,000 annually, the paper reported. 

To see the Register's full report, click here