Vancouver abuse case of caged twins sparks unlikely friendship

Date: 2011-10-27
Source: Koin6

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. -- Tim Graf has gotten to know Tina Toth and her husband Mike quite well during the past few years.

Until recently, their children were all living in the same Vancouver home with Jeff and Sandy Weller, who are accused of starving, beating and imprisoning their 16-year-old adopted twins.

"We have a common enemy... and that's the enemy of our child, our children," Graf said.

Jeff is the ex-husband of Tina, while Sandy is the ex-wife of Tim. Jeff Weller and Tina Toth had two sons together before they divorced, while Tim Graf and Sandy had one son, and adopted the twins 16-years-ago.

Tina Toth tells KOIN she divorced Jeff Weller years ago because of abuse.

"Physical.. mostly, emotionally abusive. That was when I left. I took my two boys and I left," Toth said.

Tina had custody of the boys until recently, when she asked for investigation regarding the boys' visits with their father. When they were younger, she says they often returned from his house with soiled clothing.

"My oldest son decided he no longer wanted to go over there -- to their dad's house," Toth said.

However, Clark County's appointed Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), Meredith Graff, determined that Jeff Weller should be awarded custody. Toth claims it was a shoddy investigation and that Weller made her sons tell lies, and a reporter with the now-defunct Vancouver Voice agrees.

"Per Graff's own report, Jeff Weller was listed as having anger issues, poor impulse control, and not able to handle negative feelings well," Freelance reporter Marcus Griffith said.

As a result of the abuse allegations involving the twins, though, Tina regained temporary custody of her two sons with Weller, and is hoping to make that permanent.

The same goes for Tim Graf. He lives in Colorado, and it had been more than seven years since he had seen the twins and his son.

"I was expecting to see two kids who had a beaten down victim mentality. And I saw two kids who rose above and decided we're not going to live like this anymore. Either we're not going to live like this anymore or die trying," Graf said.

Graf said Sandra Weller emotionally abused him while they were married, and later, he says she told lies that kept him away from the children. But he was shocked at the severity of the abuse allegations.

"I know emotional abuse was going on. I lived in it and I knew borderline physical abuse going on. But this. No idea... My worst fear is pretty much what was happening," Graf said.

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