BREAKING NEWS: Four charged in brutal Zearing family abuse case

Authorities in Story County have arrested four individuals in response to what is being called “severe abuse and malnutrition of a family member.”

According to a Story County Sheriff’s Office press release, deputies were called to a local hospital in the early morning hours of January 27 on a report of an adult male patient suffering from “severe traumatic injuries and malnutrition.”

Two individuals, identified as 42-year-old Danielle K. Graham and 20-year-old Aaron Williams, both of Zearing, reportedly brought the injured male to the emergency room. Medical staff told investigators that the male arrived at the clinic “conscious” but not alert or responsive to stimulus, per the release.

The current condition of the victim has not been released.

The release states that the injured male, who is also a Zearing resident, had suffered multiple severe injuries, some considered life-threatening, due to abuse. These included rib fractures, wounds in multiple stages of healing, and a brain bleed. He also is said to have weighed just 70 pounds when he arrived at the hospital, indicating severe malnourishment.

During the course of their investigation, authorities determined that “all family members in his household” had knowledge of and participated in the abuse.

As one example of the alleged abuse, the release claims the family “restrained the victim by handcuffing his wrists and ankles to his bed while physically abusing him.” Investigators believe the abuse escalated in early November 2023, resulting in “a grave long-term injury,” according to the release.

Authorities are not releasing any further details regarding the case to the public, as the investigation is ongoing.

In total, four family members have been charged as a result of the investigation. They include the following:

  • 44-year-old Gary L. Graham, Jr. of Zearing
  • 42-year-old Danielle K. Graham of Zearing
  • 20-year-old Aaron Williams of Zearing
  • 16-year-old Kaitlyn Williams of Zearing

All four individuals are facing charges of First-Degree Kidnapping, a class “A” felony, and Willful Injury, a class “C” felony.

Sheriff’s Office Captain Nicholas Lennie explained that, “due to the severity of the charges, the 16-year-old female [Kaitlyn Williams] is being charged as an adult.”

This is a developing story. StoryCounty.News will provide more information as it becomes available.

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