Crime & Courts

New charges filed in alleged North Newton child abuse

Three children were removed from the North Newton home of Jim and Paige Nachtigal.
Three children were removed from the North Newton home of Jim and Paige Nachtigal.

Prosecutors on Thursday filed nine additional charges against the adoptive mother and father of three Peruvian children doctors have diagnosed as victims of child torture, according to court records and the Harvey County Attorney’s Office.

North Newton husband and wife Jim and Paige Nachtigal now face 12 felony charges each: three counts of child abuse alleging cruel and inhuman corporal punishment, which were filed by Harvey County Attorney David Yoder on Feb. 17; seven counts of aggravated battery; and two counts of child abuse alleging child torture.

The newest charges accuse the Nachtigals of breaking several of their two youngest children’s bones and of torturing them starting as early as 2014, according to the amended charging document filed Thursday in Harvey County District Court. The adoptive children at the center of the case are ages 11, 11 and 15.

The Nachtigals also have four adult children, authorities have said. The abuse allegedly occurred at the family’s home in North Newton.

Yoder’s assistant Lisa Beachy on Thursday confirmed that the additional charges had been filed and said they were prompted by further investigation of the abuse allegations, which came to the attention of Harvey County law enforcement earlier this month after one of the children, an 11-year-old boy, ran away from home.

She declined to comment further.

Neither of the Nachtigals’ defense attorneys returned phone calls seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

The Nachtigals are scheduled to appear before a Harvey County judge at 2 p.m. Friday for their next hearings. Additional details of the alleged abuse are expected to come to light then.

The three adopted children were taken into protective custody Feb. 11 after North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan launched an investigation into their welfare following the boy’s Feb. 5 flight attempt. At a news conference last week, he said the two younger children, a boy and a girl, suffered beatings with a cane and a 1-by-3 board, had broken bones in various stages of healing and were “severely malnourished” when they and their older sister were removed from the Nachtigals’ home.

Jordan at the time said it appeared that Jim Nachtigal, 51, doled out the majority of the abuse but that it was done at the direction of his wife, 49.

The couple were arrested and jailed following a child-in-need-of-care proceeding at the Harvey County Courthouse on Feb. 16.

Jordan has said the children were adopted from Peru three to four years ago.

Prior to their arrests, the Nachtigals had been seeking financial support from churches for ministry work in Iquitos, a Peruvian city in the Amazon forest, as well as through a GoFundMe page. Until his arrest, Jim Nachtigal also was the chief executive of Newton elderly care facility Kansas Christian Home, but he has since been fired from that position.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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