McDonough Couple Charged With Abusing Adopted Children

Date: 2007-08-09

McDonough Couple Charged With Abusing Adopted Children

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POSTED: 5:20 pm EDT August 9, 2007
UPDATED: 2:18 pm EDT August 10, 2007

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. -- A Henry County husband and wife were arrested on child abuse charges.

McDonough police arrested Earl and Deborah Dinkler Tuesday.

Investigators said the couple mentally and physically abused two, adopted children over a period of several years.

Police began investigating the couple after a 911 call from a neighbor on Saturday.

Police said the Dinklers' 13-year-old daughter came to a neighbor's house Saturday morning, sweating and scared to go home, but left before the neighbor could help. Later that day, the girl came back to the neighbor's house dirty, sweating and hungry, police said.

The girl told the neighbor she had been hiding under the neighbor's house for more than two hours and was afraid of being punished for not doing exercises, according to a police report.

The children had been forced to run 15 laps around the house before breakfast "just about every day" for the last four years, McDonough Police Capt. Kyle Helgerson said.

The punishments for the daughter and 11-year-old son included spankings with either a belt or a miniature Louisville Slugger baseball bat, the police report said.

According to the police report, Earl Dinkler said the spankings and exercises were used as a way to deal with the children's "anger problems." Dinkler told police the children were not allowed to eat until they had finished their exercises, but were allowed to have water.

When police took the children to Henry Medical Center to be examined, they found several bruises on each child. The children have been placed in the custody of child welfare officials.

Officials told Channel 2 this was one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen.

Police said Earl Dinkler is on the McDonough Board of Zoning Appeals.

They are being held on $100,000 bond each. A hearing for the Dinklers has been set for Aug. 17.


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