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Child Endangerment Charges Filed Against Parents, Uncle Who Forced Boy to Wear Chain Belt

The parents and uncle of a 13-year-old Dubuque County boy have been accused of having the repeat runaway wear a chain belt attached to a weight. Court records say Peosta residents Cynthia Kobusch, her husband, Michael, and her brother, Jeffrey Merfeld, have each been charged with child endangerment. The records say the boy was known for running away. He told investigators his parents were out of town last November when Merfeld padlocked a chain around the boy’s waist and attached a weight. When the boy ran away again in December he showed investigators blood blisters he’d gotten from the chain. The court documents also cite two witnesses who back up the boy’s claims. All three defendants made their initial court appearances last week. It’s not yet know when they’re due back in court.

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