In Need of Care

In Need of Care: Hearing in abused child case postponed again

Wichita

The preliminary hearing for the parents of a 14-year-old Sedgwick County girl diagnosed by a doctor as a victim of child torture has been continued a fourth time.

The girl’s adoptive parents were scheduled to appear in Sedgwick County District Court on Tuesday, but the preliminary hearing in a criminal case against them has been postponed to Oct. 29.

The Wichita Eagle has been following the case since April as part of its “In Need of Care” series examining child abuse and neglect in the community. The Eagle is not naming the parents because doing so would identify the girl and her three adopted siblings, all of whom police placed in protective custody on March 28.

Prosecutors filed criminal charges against the parents June 6 after earlier filing a child-in-need-of-care petition on behalf of the four children.

The father faces three counts of child abuse, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated endangerment of a child, one count of criminal restraint and one count of criminal damage to property. The mother faces the same charges with the exception of criminal damage to property.

The parents, released from the Sedgwick County Jail in June on $150,000 bond each, are accused of abusing the girl from the time she was 9. The parents took her in as a foster child and later adopted her after her biological mother neglected her.

Prosecutors have accused the parents of beating the girl – who weighed 66 pounds when police removed her from her home – with a foam hard-core bat and a broken curtain rod “whereby great bodily harm, disfigurement or death” could have been inflicted.

The petition alleges that the parents at times chained the girl in a windowless basement room with an alarm on the door and gave her a bucket to use as a toilet.

The parents have denied the allegations raised in the child-in-need-of-care case.

Their lawyer requested the continuances in the criminal case, and prosecutors did not object.

The parents’ trial in the child-in-need-of-care case, called an adjudication hearing, also has been continued. It is now scheduled for Oct. 20, 21 and 22.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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