WATCH: Daughter’s secret videos led to child abuse charges for parents of disabled children after decades of police complaints

The adopted daughter of a couple now in custody on child abuse charges recorded video of the violence in their Iowa home that helped lead to the arrests after dozens of reports over ten years.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, John Elmer Bell, 55, and Joyce Marie Bell, 57, were arrested last week on charges of felony child endangerment causing bodily harm. The investigation that led to their arrests was reportedly prompted, in part, by a video one of the couple’s nine adopted children took at the family’s Ankeny home.

Krystall Bell, 21, reportedly took video footage of her parents assaulting her younger disabled siblings and shared it on Facebook and with police. She later sent it to the Des Moines Register‘s Reader’s Watchdog section, and the newspaper launched a probe that uncovered 68 police reports made about the family since 2007.

The local news station WHOTV obtained clips of the video footage which show both parents slapping, restraining and screaming at a male youth as he howls. All of the nine adopted children reportedly have mental disabilities.


The two adopted children under the age of 18 were removed from the home earlier this month.

Krystal Bell spoke to the news station about her efforts to hold her adoptive parents accountable for years of alleged abuse.

“I actually feel happy. I feel relieved a little bit, but then at the same time I feel like we haven’t had enough justice yet. They should have a lot more coming to them than what they have right now,” Krystal said.

Krystal also told the news station that cramped living conditions led to chaos in the home, and said that at certain point all nine adopted children and a biological child were living in the two-bedroom home, and often had to sleep in the living room or the basement.

WHOTV reports that the parents received upwards of $110,000 a year in state subsidies for adopting special needs children.

John and Joyce Bell are currently in custody at the Polk County Jail.


Feature photo: Polk County Jail