High profile kidnapping case returns to Spirit Lake

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

New trial dates — two of them — have been set for an Ackley man accused of confining his son in darkness, terrorizing him about dogs, withholding food and toilet use, injuring him and forcing him to sleep on a cement floor.

Alex Craig Shadlow is scheduled to stand trial at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, on a Class B felony charge of child endangerment — multiple acts for engaging in a course of conduct including three or more acts of child endangerment within a period of 12 months. Prosecutors think Shadlow was "knowingly acting in a manner that created a substantial risk to the physical, mental or emotional health or safety" of the child by using "unreasonable force, torture or cruelty that resulted in bodily injury or was intended to cause serious injury to the boy."

Shadlow faces a Class A felony kidnapping charge based on accusations surrounding the treatment and detainment of his son. Shadlow has renewed his request for a jury trial and jurors will be scheduled to hear that case at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at the Dickinson County Courthouse in Spirit Lake. The case was moved out of the Hardin County Courthouse in Eldora to increase the chance of finding an impartial jury pool.

The outcome of the case involving Shadlow's fiancι — Traci Tyler — may have factored into a prosecution effort to amend a secondary charge in the Shadlow case. Tyler waived a jury trial and her first-degree kidnapping case was heard on a faster time line. Second District Court Judge James C. Ellefson on April 10 found her guilty of a lesser, misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment.

The charge is punishable by up to a year in jail. She would have spent life in prison with a Class A kidnapping conviction.

Court rules prevent attorneys from drastically amending criminal charges once defense work begins on the formal accusations. Shadlow's enhanced child endangerment charge had to be filed as a fresh accusation — and court case — instead. John L. Sandy of Spirit Lake is defending Shadlow in the kidnapping case. Douglas Cook of Jewell has been assigned to defend Shadlow in the enhanced child endangerment case.

Shadlow and Tyler were arrested for abuse and neglect that took place over the summer of 2017. They were accused of locking Shadlow's 8-year-old son in the family's dark basement without appropriate access to food, bedding or restroom facilities. He had to sleep on a concrete floor and his appearance and food-seeking behaviors alarmed teachers at the start of the 2017-18 school year in Ackley.

The 8-year-old's parents have argued the boy exhibited destructive and unsafe behaviors when he lived with Tyler and Shadlow. They say the child was detained because he bruised himself, pulled out his own hair and smeared body waste on objects in an effort to get out of the home.

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