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Couple charged in daughter's death due in court

Date: 2015-02-09

NEWPORT NEWS – A couple charged in the death of their young daughter is due in Newport News court.

Newport News police upgraded the charge against Terri and Pamela Dennis to felony murder and child abuse from felony child neglect on November 3, 2013.

Their seven-year-old adopted daughter, Terrilynn Destiny Dennis, died in April 2013, but police say it took time for the medical examiner to determine how she died.

Arrest warrants show she'd complained about her stomach hurting the day she died and that Mrs. Dennis noticed her tongue was purple and she was unresponsive around 8 p.m.

The arrest warrants show Terrilynn had Spina Bifida and was considered a special needs child.

The Daily Press reports the child's cause of death was delayed because of peritonitis — inflammation to the tissue covering the abdomen and other organs — which was caused by blunt force trauma, in addition to medical and physical neglect, according to a criminal complaint filed in Newport News Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The couple had been her foster parents before adopting her in December 2012, police said.

Pasco sheriff: Girl, 9, dies a day after attack by mentally ill uncle

Date: 2015-02-06

By Claire McNeill and Tony Marrero

NEW PORT RICHEY — A day and a half after horrific violence rocked the lives of a local family inside their home, friends and family gathered outside the house with flickering candles in plastic cups to remember the lives of a grandmother and a spirited young girl.

Jenica Randazzo, a 9-year-old girl who loved to sing, died early Friday, joining her grandmother Angela Rios, 55, who died in an attack at the home Thursday. Authorities have arrested Jenica's uncle, Jason Rios, who is also Rios' son and lived in the home, and charged him in the deaths.

Jenica "was so happy and so bright, shockingly, considering what she went through," said Ashley Rhodes-Courter, who said she had once been Jenica's foster mother. "She had an amazing spirit, and she always tried to see the best in people, even those who hurt her."

Couple accused of chaining up adopted son indicted on child abuse charges

Date: 2015-02-06

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A grand jury indicted a Memphis couple accused of chaining up their adopted 8-year-old son in July 2014.

Melvin and Kenya Bloomingburg, both accused of child abuse, are both free on bond.

The two were arrested in July after their son called 911, telling them he was chained by his ankle to a wall inside the couple's Fox Meadows home. The 8-year-old was later diagnosed with ulcers and malnutrition.

According to the affidavit of complaint, the boy told investigators that his parents regularly denied him food. He said they once chained him up in the backyard shed for days and when he was chained inside, he had to sleep on a dresser.

With the Bloomingburgs out on bond, WMC Action News 5's Kontji Anthony went by their home but there was no answer.

A man sitting in a black SUV down the street spoke with Kontji, but insisted that he was not Melvin Bloomingburg. An archive search showed the same black SUV with the same distinctive stickers parked in the Bloomingburg's driveway back in July.

According to Department of Children's Services, all six of the couple's children are now in state custody.

Colorado man can contest Utah adoption, court rules

Date: 2015-02-06


A Colorado man was improperly denied an opportunity to contest an adoption in Utah of a son born from a brief sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Bobby L. Nevares preserved his parental interest in Utah by acting to do so in Colorado, the high court said in reversing a decision by 4th District Judge Claudia Laycock.

The ruling, which sends the case back for further proceedings, involved the controversial agency called The Adoption Center of Choice, which has been at the center of a number of contested adoptions and whose license to operate in Utah was revoked by the state about a year ago.

An attorney for Nevares, Joshua Peterman, hailed the court's ruling.

"The decision is an important step in eliminating the ability of adoption agencies to obtain children through fraud and deceit," he said in an email. "There are a number of agencies here in Utah who are more concerned with earning a fee than the fundamental constitutional right of a father to parent his child."

Pasco sheriff: Mentally ill man kills mother, attacks nieces

Date: 2015-02-05

By Claire McNeill

NEW PORT RICHEY — The screams reached Ernesto Rios in the shower and led him to his young granddaughter, bloodied and battered but still alive early Thursday morning.

He ran to another room and found his other granddaughter, severely hurt, and the girls' uncle standing over her, holding a blunt weapon. Rios wrestled him from the home.

Sheriff's deputies would ultimately find the body of Ernesto's wife, Angela Rios, who was 55.

After an hourslong standoff, they arrested the uncle, Jason Rios, 24, a paranoid schizophrenic who the Pasco County sheriff said may have been using drugs. He was hospitalized with self-inflicted wounds from a drill and faces a charge of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Inside the home, deputies found a scene so gruesome that Sheriff Chris Nocco said he will make sure they receive mental health counseling.

"You can see in their eyes this is one of the cases that's going to live with them forever," he said.

• • •

Lawyer is suspended after child endangerment plea; judge saw no malice in adoptees' treatment

Date: 2015-02-03

By Debra Cassens Weiss

A Pennsylvania deputy attorney general has been suspended from law practice after his no contest plea to child endangerment.

Douglas Barbour, 35, was suspended on Friday, report the Sharon Harold, the Associated Press and Prosecutors had accused Barbour and his wife of mistreating two siblings they adopted from Ethiopia in 2012. The children were 6 years old and 18 months old when the Barbours were charged.

When Barbour entered the no-contest plea last June, Judge Jeffrey Manning of Pittsburgh said he saw no evidence of malice, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported at the time. “This started out as a significant act of charity gone awry,” Manning said. The couple retained custody of their two biological children.

The couple was charged after hospital officials reported that the girl had multiple fractures and the boy had lesions that could have been caused by contact with urine. Barbour’s wife, Kristen Barbour, told hospital officials that the girl has a history of banging her head. Prosecutors also said the boy was underweight.

Trial scheduled for man accused of abusing, and marrying, adopted daughter

Date: 2015-02-02

By John P Tretbar

A 43-year-old Alaska man accused of sexually abusing his adopted daughter over many years and in many locations is being held in Buchanan County pending trial on charges of rape, sodomy, child molestation and incest.

The trial of Owen Melvin Miller was moved here from Andrew County on a change of venue.

Miller and his wife have seven adopted children, and several of them were allegedly sexually abused.

According to court documents, Mr Miller married one of the adopted children in a ceremony in Savannah, Missouri in August, 2002.

The children told investigators here and in Wasilla, Alaska about years of physical abuse and neglect. According to court documents, the children recounted several incidents of being locked ino the basement, the attic, or outside. They say they were forced to go two days or more without food if they got into trouble. The two victims said they would unhinge a padlocked bedroom door and then crawl through a hole in the wall to sneak food out of a deep freeze in the garage. The children said they warmed that food on a furnace.

Toddler's death ruled 'accidental' even as mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter

Date: 2015-01-22

By Heidi Fenton |

WYOMING, MI -- An 18-month-old girl found dead in her crib in March 2014 died of asphyxia from removing her trachea tube, according to a death certificate filed in Kent County.

The certificate classifies her death as accidental, even as police are charging the toddler's mother, Rebecca Cotes, with involuntary manslaughter.

Kent County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker said the ruling Hannah Hoag suffered an accidental death does not preclude a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors, he said, are alleging gross negligence occurred with the death.

Hannah was found unresponsive in her crib the morning of March 24 and pronounced dead at 11:45 a.m.

In a probable cause affidavit, police allege Cotes, 26, placed Hannah in a crib without medical monitoring equipment — required because of the girl's special health needs. As she slept, Hannah removed her trachea tube, causing her own death, police say.

Mom charged in asphyxiation death of 1½ year old girl

Date: 2015-01-21

WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) - A 1 ½ year old girl is dead and now the baby's mother faces involuntary manslaughter charges for the girl's death in Wyoming nearly a year ago.

Rebecca Joy Cotes, 26, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for removing the child's breathing tube when putting the baby to bed on March 23rd last year.

Hannah Hoag, the woman's adopted daughter, was found dead in her crib the following morning at the family's home on Blandford Avenue SW near Chicago Drive.

The Kent County Medical Examiner's office ruled the asphyxiation death accidental, concluding the child removed the tracheal tube that provided her with oxygen.

But in a probable cause affidavit signed by Wyoming police, detectives say the mother was grossly negligent for not attaching the appropriate medical monitoring equipment. Cote removed the tracheal tube, causing the girl's death, court documents reveal.

The criminal complaint also alleges the child was not properly monitored, nor was the proper medical protocol used.

Woman charged with involuntary manslaughter in adopted daughter's neglect death

Date: 2015-01-21

By Angie Jackson

UPDATE: Toddler's death ruled 'accidental' even as mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter

WYOMING, MI -- A Wyoming woman is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the March death of her adopted 18-month-old child.

Rebecca Cotes, 26, is accused of neglecting her daughter's medical condition, which required a certain level of care, police said. Hannah Hoag was found dead in her crib on the morning of March 24.

The criminal allegation against Cotes comes after an investigation by Child Protective Services determined Hannah was the victim of medical neglect.

Cotes was Hannah's adoptive mother, Capt. Kim Koster said. She declined to specify the medical condition the child suffered from.

Cotes on Wednesday, Jan. 21, waived a probable cause hearing in Wyoming District Court. She is not currently jailed, records show.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

Trial date continued for Newport News couple charged in child's death

Date: 2015-01-20

By Ashley K. Speed

EWPORT NEWS — A new hearing date has been set for a Newport News couple charged in the death of their 7-year-old adopted daughter..

Terri Dennis, 32, and Pamela Dennis, 41, are charged in the April 2013 homicide of Terrilynn Destiny Dennis. Both are charged with murder and child abuse. Their trial date was set for Jan. 27 in Newport News Circuit Court, but has been continued, according to online court documents. A new hearing date has been set for Feb. 9, where a new trial date could be selected.

Officers responded about 1:40 a.m. April 4, 2013, to the 200 block of Gallery Court after receiving a call that a 7-year-old girl was not breathing, according to police. When police arrived, they found family members performing CPR on the girl, and they took over CPR until paramedics arrived. The girl was transported to a local hospital where she died a short time later, police said.

Paramedics were called more than eight hours after Pamela Dennis noticed the girl's tongue had turned purple and she was unresponsive, the criminal complaint states.

Defense seeks trial delay for Ohio Guardsman accused of sexually abusing adopted daughters

Date: 2015-01-19

MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A defense attorney is asking a court to postpone the trial of an Ohio National Guardsman accused of sexually abusing three adopted daughters and his stepdaughter and trying to keep other children in the family from discussing what they knew.

The 41-year-old Marysville man has pleaded not guilty on 35 counts alleging he abused the girls, abruptly sent a fourth adopted daughter out of state and threatened other children with a similar fate to keep them from talking. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 26.

In a motion requesting a delay, the defense said it needs more time to review medical records, contact between the victims and the prosecutor's office, and allegations of inappropriate sexual contact involving parties associated with the case. In regard to that unspecified sexual contact, the defense also sought court approval to pay for someone to review what was investigated and documented.

The office of the Guardsman's attorney has said he won't discuss the case.

Jury finds man guilty of sexually assaulting 2 girls

Date: 2015-01-16

By Nelson Daranciang

The man who opened and ran Heart Gallery Hawaii, the local chapter of a national organization that recruits parents for hard-to-adopt foster children, is guilty of sexually assaulting two girls.

A state jury deliberated less than three hours Friday before finding Louis A. Martinez guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault, one count of attempted felony sexual assault and two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault.

The girls reported that Martinez sexually assaulted them in 2011. One of the girls was 11 years old at the time. The other girl was 16.

Martinez, 38, faces sentencing in April.

Chinese police rescue 37 babies in trafficking bust

Date: 2015-01-14

By Naomi Ng

Police rescued 37 babies and a 3-year-old girl after busting a child trafficking ring in eastern China's Shandong province, reported the state-run China Central Television.

The newborn babies, many suffering from HIV/AIDS and malnutrition, were sold for between 50,000 yuan to 80,000 yuan ($8,000 to $12,912 dollars). The boys fetched higher prices than girls, according to the online video report published on Tuesday.

Babies were often transported in large handbags and suitcases to prospective buyers. And they were allegedly fed instant noodles and leftover vegetables, according to Chinese state media.

Authorities have arrested 103 people, suspected of trafficking or purchasing the infants.

Watch this video

Doctor admits stealing, selling babies 01:11


Police spotted a suspicious group of pregnant women being ushered into an abandoned factory in the city of Jining, last July, where they found baby diapers and other evidence of it being used as an "underground delivery room."

One girl's controversial adoption, and what it says about Guatemala's broken international adoption system

Date: 2015-01-08

Editor William Troop

Adopting a child from Guatemala used to be really popular among Americans. In 2006 alone, more than 4,000 Guatemalan kids were adopted by families here in the US.

In each case, prospective parents paid tens of thousands of dollars in fees. All that money fuelled a lucrative adoption industry in Guatemala, and an underground trade in abducted children.

It got so bad that Guatemala halted all new international adoptions in 2007. The country's been trying to reform its broken system ever since. But there are still a lot of questions about what went on in the past, and about one case in particular.

It involves a girl named Karen Abigail, who was adopted years ago from Guatemala by an American couple from Missouri.

“Karen’s case is actually a high-profile criminal investigation in Guatemala,” says investigative journalist Erin Siegal McIntyre. She’s spent several years looking into Karen’s adoption and Guatemala's broken adoption system in general.

Her lengthy article detailing Karen’s case was published online by Guernica magazine.

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