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Most recent articles added to the case archives



'Top 15 most wanted' fugitive couple caught in Oregon

Date: 2014-08-14

Therese Apel,
The Clarion-Ledger

A couple wanted since 2008 on numerous charges tied to the death of their two-year-old adopted daughter have been arrested in Portland, Oregon.

Union County authorities have confirmed Janet and Ramon Barreto are in custody. According to the US Marshals, the Barretos were located in a shopping mall around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday. They had a child with them at the time of their arrest which is now in protective custody.

A tip on Monday lead authorities to their location, Marshals said. The couple refused to identify themselves, but a digital fingerprint system was used to identify Ramon Barreto. Janet Barreto was identified after being fingerprinted at the jail.

They were charged in 2008 with child neglect, child abuse, tampering with a witness, and manslaughter in the death of Enna Barreto, and the abuse of six other children. They were each wanted for failure to appear on original charges of manslaughter of a child, three counts of child abuse, six counts of child neglect and tampering with a witness.

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards says the U. S. Marshals Service located the couple in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday.

Biological mother of child found chained to shed wants him back

Date: 2014-07-07

By Lauren Squires

MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC) - The mother of a child found chained up in a backyard shed says she wants her parental rights back.

It's a fight that came to a head last week when she saw her son being taken from his adoptive parents on WMC Action News 5.

Dionne Robinson had her parental rights terminated five years ago after she deserted her children in a drug-fueled haze.

"I had a drug problem back then and that caused them to take them," she said.

Now she wants a second chance at being a mom.

"It was very heart breaking for me. I just broke down in tears, because that's nothing a child should ever have to go through," said Robinson.

On July 3, Memphis police rushed the home of Melvin and Kenya Bloomingburg on Gaywinds Avenue after a young girl called 911 to report that her brother was chained up in the backyard shed.

Many questions remain after boy is found chained up at Memphis home

Date: 2014-07-04

by Katie Rufener

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Department of Child Services is trying to figure out who six children belong to after they were taken from a home where a boy was found in restraints.

All the children were removed from a house in the 5600 block of Gaywinds Avenue Thursday. Neighbors tell WREG that’s where a young boy was found chained up.

DCS said, according to their records, none of the children taken from the house are foster kids.

WREG tried talking to a man who claimed to be the own the house. He wouldn’t share his name, but the home’s owners are listed as Melvin and Kenya Bloomingburg. They have lived there since 2006. The man refused to talk to a WREG reporter about the children or the accusations.

DCS said the house was a foster home for the last two years, but the family stopped fostering in February. They said there were never any problems during that time.

However Thursday night, the house was swarming with police after hearing a child was being restrained in a shed behind it.

Child found restrained in Memphis home

Date: 2014-07-04

MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC) - On Thursday, Memphis police say they found a child chained up in a backyard shed.

Six children were removed from the home in the 5600 block of Gaywinds Avenue. The 8-year-old boy is at the center of the bizarre investigation.

It started when police received a call from a sibling that the child was chained up in the backyard shed, but physically, he wasn't hurt.

"Just to make me think about it, it's awful," said neighbor Elaine Evans. "You know, we speak like you speak to your neighbors, don't try to get in their business, but they seem pretty nice people, but you never know."

Several neighborhood children said the boy was chained up at least once before when they wanted him to play basketball with them.

"Then he was like ‘I can't, I'm chained up' and I said 'why you chained up?' And he said ‘ask my mama,'" said one neighborhood boy.

Police contacted the Department of Children's Services, whose investigators joined officers on the scene for much of the day. DCS is working to determine the relationship between the adults inside the house and the children.

Couple says they kept son locked in garage to protect other children

Date: 2014-06-30

By Kris Betts, Tina Shively and Eleanor Beck

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas -- The couple accused of kidnapping their own adopted son said they had to keep him locked up to protect their other children and community.

The couple is out on bond after it was lowered to $70,000 on Friday.

Jenifer Thyssen, 40, and her husband, 39-year-old Dane 'Andy' Thyssen, are accused of locking up their 22-year-old adopted son, Koystya Thyssen, in a garage apartment by himself for at least four years.

Attorneys representing the couple say they kept their son locked up because he had sexually assaulted children, including a relative, in the past.

Attorney Rip Collins said, "He [Koystya] has a history of sexually abusing children, not only in other countries, but in this neighborhood, in this community. And their concern was, they had him restrained because of their concern that other people would be harmed."

Friends say the couple adopted Koystya from Kazakhstan in 2004, when he was 11 years old.

Couple kept adopted son locked in home, deputies say

Date: 2014-06-27

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas -- A Texas couple accused of keeping their adopted son locked up in a garage apartment for at least the past four years said they had to keep him captive to protect their own children.

Jenifer Thyssen, 40, and her husband, Dane Thyssen, 39, are accused of kidnapping. The couple was arrested earlier this week. They appeared in court Friday to argue that their $350,000 bond should be lowered.

Hays County sheriff's deputies say the couple told them they confined 22-year-old Koystya Thyssen in an apartment at their home in Dripping Springs "for the safety" of their other children, according to the arrest affidavit. Dripping Springs, a town of around 1,900 residents, is about 20 miles west of Austin.

Court documents don't indicate how many children were in the couple's care. In testimony Friday, Dane Thyssen indicated the couple had six children

Koystya was arrested after admitting he had burglarized a next door neighbor's house, according to a Hays County detective.

Koystya told detectives he used a screwdriver to break out of the garage apartment next door where he was kept locked inside.

Dripping Springs couple accused of keeping son locked away

Date: 2014-06-26

By Patrick Tolbert and David Scott

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — A burglary investigation turned into a bizarre abduction investigation after the 22-year old suspect told police he escaped from his adopted parents, after being locked in their garage apartment for five years.

According to court documents, Jenifer Elise and Dane Andrew Thyssen admitted to locking their 22-year-old adopted son, Koystya Thyssen, in the apartment for his safety and the safety of their four younger children.

Investigators say the apartment’s windows were boarded up and that the door was locked from the outside. It had a toilet, microwave and refrigerator. Koystya told investigators he was kept locked away and was given a box of food once a week.

The story came out when Koystya was arrested in May on a charge of burglarizing a neighbor’s home. The homeowner’s stolen undergarments and magazines were found in Koystya’s home.

That’s when Koystya began telling detectives about his story.

Dripping Springs Couple Arrested for Holding Adopted Son Captive

Date: 2014-06-26

A Dripping Springs couple was arrested Thursday, accused of keeping their 22-year-old adopted son in a locked garage apartment for about four to five years with little access food or the outside world.

According to the arrest affidavit for Dane Thyssen, 39, the garage apartment was outfitted with a toilet, sink, refrigerator and microwave.

All windows were boarded up and a padlock secured the door from the outside, the son, Koystya Thyssen, told police.

A package of food was dropped off once a week, usually on Saturdays, and Koystya said that if he ran out, he would have to wait until the next Saturday.Koystya told police that he had lived in a garage apartment behind his adoptive parent’s house since the family moved onto the property four or five years ago.

He said he was locked in the apartment six days a week, only allowed to leave on Wednesday to shower and visit with his counselor. Police became aware of the situation when Koystya was arrested, suspected of burglarizing one of Thyssen’s neighbors along Meadow Ridge Drive.

He said he had stolen a screwdriver from his father’s workshop and used it to escape.

Lincoln County woman pleads guilty to child abuse

Date: 2014-06-16

In the Lincoln County Circuit Court Monday, the mother of several adopted children pleaded guilty to three counts of child abuse.One case involved one who disappeared for for more than seven hours, triggering a massive search.

The woman, Sharon Wilkerson, 55, of Lakota Acres, entered the pleas before Circuit Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer as part of a deal with prosecutors. In the exchange for the guilty pleas, she got a suspended imposition of a seven-year sentence and will serve 120 days of ‘shock time’

As part of the agreement, several other charges were not pursued by the prosecution.

The charges involved one of Wilkerson’s adopted daughters and a foster child, authorities said. According to court documents, Wilkerson beat the girls with various instruments. The abuse happened in 2010 and 2011.

The daughter, who was 10 in 2010, disappeared in October of that year for more than seven hours. When she returned, she told reporters that she left home to go for a walk with the family dog and he started chasing squirrels. She got lost, she said, and spent part of her time away taking a nap. She returned home on her own.

Lincoln County mom pleads guilty of beating adopted daughter, foster child

Date: 2014-06-16

By Susan Weich

LINCOLN COUNTY • The mother of several adopted children — including one who disappeared for more than seven hours in 2010, triggering a massive search — pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of child abuse.

Sharon Wilkerson, 55, of the first block of Lakota Acres, entered the plea before Circuit Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer as part of a deal with prosecutors. Wilkerson had faced 29 counts of child abuse. In exchange for pleading guilty to three, she received a suspended seven-year sentence and must serve 120 days of “shock time” in prison.

The charges involved one of Wilkerson’s adopted daughters and a foster child, authorities said. According to court documents, Wilkerson beat the girls with various instruments, including an arrow, a plumbing supply line, a curtain rod and hangers, in 2010 and 2011.

The daughter, who was 10 in 2010, disappeared that October for more than seven hours. She later said she took a walk with a family dog and became lost.

It is unclear how the abuse came to the attention of authorities.

Man to serve eight weeks jail for torment and sexual abuse of foster daughter

Date: 2014-05-02

Man to serve eight weeks jail for torment and sexual abuse of foster daughter
KAREN MATTHEWS GEELONG ADVERTISER MAY 02, 2014 1:00AM

A FOSTER father, who betrayed the trust of the child who called him ‘Dad’, by repeatedly sexually assaulting her over a long period, has been jailed for two months.

The offender, who has fostered at least 70 vulnerable children in the Geelong area, pleaded guilty in Geelong Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to 15 counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

The maximum sentence for each count of indecent assault on a child under 16 is 10 years jail however in this case the offender will get to serve just four days per charge.

The court heard the foster father, who cannot be named due to a suppression order, sexually assaulted the child on a regular basis, with his offending becoming more exploitative as time went on.

Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Brooke Shears said, that when arrested, the offender admitted to committing many more indecent assaults on the child than those disclosed by her.

His lawyer said her client had been ‘candid’ and ‘co-operative’ with police.

Foster carer to be sentenced over underage sex assault

Date: 2014-05-01

Foster carer to be sentenced over underage sex assault
KAREN MATTHEWS GEELONG ADVERTISER MAY 01, 2014 8:45AM 3

A GEELONG foster carer has fronted court charged with the repeated sexual assault of one of 70 vulnerable children placed in his care over a number of years.

The foster carer, who cannot be named due to a suppression order, pleaded guilty in Geelong Magistrates’ Court yesterday to 15 counts of committing an indecent act with a child under 16.

The offender was supported in court by his church minister, who spoke in glowing terms of how the man had helped organise mentoring programs for high school students and arranged youth camps for the church.

The police prosecutor, Sergeant Brooke Shears, said the victim was aged 12 when her foster father began cuddling up to her when he put her to bed.

Sgt Shears said the offending started with giving the child “kisses all over” and then became more exploitative.

Sgt Shears said that for years the offender repeatedly fondled the child, touched her intimately and committed indecent acts on her.

Salinas: Torture charge added in child starvation case

Date: 2014-04-26

By Julia Reynolds

SALINAS - For the second time, new charges have been added to the prosecution of two Monterey County women accused of chaining an 8-year-old girl to a wall and denying her food.

A torture charge, which carries a possible seven-years-to-life sentence, was filed Wednesday against Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44.

The pair already faced a felony child abuse count after their arrest on March 14. Two misdemeanor child endangerment counts concerning two boys were later added, as well as a felony false imprisonment charge in connection with the girl.

Craig and Deanda faced up to six years and eight months on those charges, prosecutor Sarah Ma said.

Ma said an amended complaint filed this week added the felony torture count as well as an enhancement of causing great bodily injury to the felony child abuse charge, which could add an additional three years in prison.

Lawmaker Wants To Stop Abuse, Neglect To “Re-Homed” Adopted Children

Date: 2014-03-26

Lawmaker Wants To Stop Abuse, Neglect To “Re-Homed” Adopted Children

By Danielle Elias
Tuesday March 25, 2014 4:46 PM
UPDATED: Wednesday March 26, 2014 11:03 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio - An adopted child says she was abused. In turn, court documents show she was shipped away to keep her quiet.

This is a practice called re-homing, where children are sent from home to home and state to state. One of the families being investigated for adopting, then abusing, is in Central Ohio.

Now, a state lawmaker got wind of this alleged practice, and wants to make sure it never happens again in Ohio.

These are children who are typically unwanted, neglected and abandoned. They fall under the radar because of how they're monitored across the country, including Ohio.

18-year-old Nita Durand shares a distant memory of her parents, who she hasn’t seen in so long.

Durand was adopted from her homeland of Haiti five years ago. She says her biological parents wanted to find her a better life.

Adopted, Abused Teen Wants Trading of Adopted Children Banned

Date: 2014-03-24

Adopted, Abused Teen Wants Trading of Adopted Children Banned

By Danielle Elias
Monday March 24, 2014 11:42 PM
UPDATED: Monday March 24, 2014 11:04 AM

MARYSVILLE, Ohio - A teenager, adopted from another country, is speaking out about the practice of re-homing as lawmakers discuss banning the process in Ohio.

Re-homing allows adopted children to be sent from home to home, without anyone ever knowing.

Nita Durand says she lost her teenage years, after she was shuffled from state to state, and family to family, suffering abuse along the way.

Durand says there were times when she was abruptly moved, without any clothes other than what was on her back.

To meet Durand now, you would find a fun-loving, energetic, teenage girl, but she says life wasn't always this good.

Durand was born 18 years ago in Haiti. She says her mother struggled with money, and fought to find her and her younger sister a better life.

"She said it would be better for all of us," said Durand, who spent several years in a Haitian orphanage until she found another home.

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