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Couple charged with abuse of adopted sons

Nov. 28, 2012 at 5:06 PM   |   Comments

TERRE HAUTE, Ind., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- An Indiana couple have been charged with starving and torturing their adopted sons in what one veteran police officer called the worst abuse he has seen.

Larry Russell, 39, and his wife, Nikki, 35, were arrested after a 17-year-old boy escaped from their house the day after Thanksgiving, the Indianapolis Star reported. Staffers at Union Hospital notified police and child welfare services of a possible case of child abuse.

The teen said he and two other boys spent the holiday locked in a second-floor bedroom, with two burritos between them. Meanwhile, the Russells allegedly ate a more traditional Thanksgiving dinner downstairs with two other children, one of them their biological son.

Later in the day, the boy told police, his hands were tied behind him and he was hit on the nose, making it bleed. He and other boys described ongoing abuse.

The teen weighed only 93 pounds when he arrived at the hospital, investigators said.

"In my 19 years with the police force, I've never seen before what's been described by these children, the injuries they sustained and the condition in which they lived," Assistant Police Chief Shawn Keen told reporters.

A spokesman for the Department of Children's Services said the couple adopted the three boys after taking them in as foster children.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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