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Parents accused of starving, beating adopted children


By Dave D'Marko

A Seminole County couple is accused of withholding food to the point where a child was eating from a trash can.

These are just two of the allegations against Dwayne and Pamela Hardy.

The children were removed from their Altamonte Springs home Thursday.

The children were abused in a previous situation.

They came to the home on Citrus Street in February thinking they were finally getting loving adoptive parents.

But authorities said instead the children, ages 6 and 9, were locked in their rooms and not allowed to eat. If they were caught sneaking food from the garbage, they were paddled with wooden spoons or a belt.

The Hardys are charged with aggravated felony child abuse and torture. 

"This far succeeded any corporal punishment anyone is allowed to do to their children," said Lt. James Clark with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. "We have bruising, scarring, bleeding. This is completely unacceptable." 

"These are parents that successfully completed the screening process," said Carrie Hoeppner, a Department of Children and Families spokeswoman. "They had good recommendations. They have no history of abuse through this agency."

DCF said as a result of the charges, they will be reviewing their records involving the family and trying to see if there were any red flags or warning signs.

The Hardys have another younger adopted child, who has also been removed from the home while they complete the investigation. 

The parents both posted bond of a little more than $7,000 and were released.

They don't appear to be home when News 13 visited, or at least weren't coming out to talk about the charges.

2010 Aug 13