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ELDORA, Iowa (AP) — A 9-year-old boy clutched a stuffed animal as he told a judge that his father's girlfriend often withheld food and helped lock him under a staircase in the basement at their Iowa home.

The boy wept at times as he testified Wednesday against 40-year-old Traci Tyler. She is being tried separately from her boyfriend, Alex Shadlow. Both are charged with kidnapping.

The couple is accused of locking the boy in the basement for at least nine hours a day during the summer of 2017. Investigators say the boy was forced to sleep on the concrete and use a tin cup as a toilet.

The boy says Tyler also made him carry a backpack filled with rocks.

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The Des Moines Register reports the boy said the basement was "supercold" and that he couldn't get out of the enclosure.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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