Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release – Thursday, August 10, 2006.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Statement of the Attorney General’s Office

Jon Neely and Kimberly Holtmyer plead guilty to child endangerment.

Jon Neely and his wife, Kimberly Holtmyer, each pled guilty today to three counts of aggravated misdemeanor child endangerment. The pleas were entered in Madison County District Court in Winterset. Sentencing was set for October 16.

The State will recommend a sentence of four years in prison for each defendant.

Trial had been set for Monday, August 14. The Attorney General’s Office is serving in the role of prosecutor at the request of the Madison County Attorney.

Background and details:

Neely and Holtmyer had been charged with four counts of aggravated misdemeanor child endangerment, and third degree kidnaping, a Class C felony, based on allegations that the couple had locked Neely’s then-10-year-old child (Holtmyer’s step-child) in a bedroom with no light, no furniture, and no food.

The State prosecutor agreed to a plea to reduced charges when the child victim traveled to the U.S. from Germany, but was unable to testify. The child, now age 11, was unable to complete a pre-trial deposition, which meant that the child was unable to testify at trial, and that prior video-tape evidence with the child was not admissible.

The Attorney General’s Office was not able to sustain the kidnaping prosecution without the child’s testimony and related evidence. The Attorney General’s Office is disappointed that it could not proceed with trial on the original charges, but the welfare of the child victim was the paramount factor in resolving this case.

The ability of a child to give testimony and to withstand cross-examination is often the key factor in determining whether crimes against children can be prosecuted successfully. Often, children are able to handle this responsibility with the support of family and victim service professionals. Sometimes they are not. In all cases, the welfare of the child must be a primary consideration.

Neely and Holtmyer were arrested February 18, 2005. A search warrant unsealed after the arrest indicated that police found the child alone and locked in a room. The room had just one window, covered with aluminum foil to keep out the light, and almost all furniture and clothing had been removed from the room, according to police. The return on the search warrant indicated the child weighed just 59 pounds.

The child’s mother, Melanie Neely, lives in Germany. The child lived in foster care in Iowa until the child’s mother regained custody and the child was reunited with Melanie in Germany in July 2005.

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