PEOSTA, Iowa — An eastern Iowa woman and her brother, who are accused of padlocking a weighted chain around her 14-year-old son’s waist, are facing trials next month.

Court records say Jeffrey Merfeld is set for trial beginning July 18 and that a July 25 trial start is set for his sister, Cynthia Kobusch. The records don’t list a trial date for her husband, Michael Kobusch, who’s also pleaded not guilty.

All three live in Peosta, 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of Des Moines and are charged with child endangerment.

Court documents say Cynthia Kobusch told an investigator that she wanted to attach a GPS tracker to her son — a frequent runaway — and had asked her brother to “make a chain” and fashion it so the boy couldn’t cut it off.

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