Invisible Children

Timothy Boss

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.


In July 2000, 10 year old Timothy Boss was beaten to death by his adoptive parents, Donald Boss Jr. and Lisa Boss. He spent the night before his death bound to a chair in the family’s basement. Timothy Boss and three other special needs children were adopted by Donald Jr. and Lisa Boss in Michigan; the couple had since moved their family of thirteen (four adopted children and seven biological children) to Iowa, where Timothy was homeschooled during the 1999 to 2000 school year. Several days after Timothy’s death, per Iowa’s homeschooling regulations, school officials contacted the family regarding Timothy’s end-of-the-year assessment. The Bosses told officials that the boy had returned to Michigan to live with family. Some of Timothy’s adopted brothers were enrolled as homeschool students for the 2000 to 2001 school year, but Timothy was not (the couple’s biological children were sent to public school). Timothy’s parents were not suspected of murder until a year and a half later, when relatives in Michigan reported that they had not seen the boy. Two years after his death, Timothy’s body was found buried in the family’s basement. Donald Boss was sentenced to fifty years in prison.

Date: 2000-07-01
Location: Remsen, Iowa