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Adoptive parents sentenced to 21 and 24 years in jail on child abuse charges


Bad mom Nikki Russell, 35, of Terra Haute, Ind. was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Nov. 19 after pleading guilty to multiple charges in what investigators have called one of the most appalling cases of abuse they've ever seen.

Nikki Russell faced six counts of child neglect, five counts of criminal confinement, two counts of battery by bodily waste, and one count of battery resulting in bodily injury - for a grand total of 14 criminal charges, according to WTHITV.

Nikki Russell’s husband, Larry Russell, 39, also of Terra Haute, was sentenced to 24 years in prison earlier this month in the same case,

Nikki and Larry Russell cruelly beat, imprisoned, and starved the adopted children under their care.

Larry Russell was charged with 11 counts of neglect and abuse; Nikki Russell was charged with those same counts plus three more, one of which alleges she used urine to abuse one of the children in her care. ~ USA Today

Nikki and Larry Russell were arrested in Nov. 2012 after one of their four adopted sons managed to escape from the home where he was being confined by his parents and make his way to a local hospital where he tried to seek help for his two siblings.

When police got to the Russell home with a search warrant, they “found their other adopted children locked in a room, beaten and covered with bodily fluid.”

In total, five children lived in the Russell home, one biological son who by all accounts was treated fairly well, and four foster sons who were all later legally adopted by the Russells. The four adopted sons were all treated like animals.

The Tribune-Star reported that when police were called to the hospital on behalf of the 17-year-old boy who escaped from the Russell’s house of horrors, that police described him as underweight, with “dried blood on his face and bearing visible signs of ligature marks on his arms where he had been tied to an object.”

The teen told police that he and two brothers had been locked in an upstairs bedroom with no access to food, water or bathroom facilities. The teen told police that he and another brother had been tied with rope to their beds, had their mouths stuffed with socks and covered with duct tape, and had been beaten and tortured.

Police found that the padlocked room shared by the adopted boys was devoid of any personal items like toys or posters. The only things in the room were beds.

The mattresses had springs showing through, and there were drops of blood found on the floor and the bed, along with a piece of plywood used to block the window.

The daring 17-year-old who only weighed 82 pounds when he managed to escape to the hospital, told police that he and his adopted brothers were regularly tied up and beaten by the Russells, were routinely forced to go without food and water, and were often doused with urine.

One boy even described an incident in which the father forced another boy to apply Icy Hot to his genitals and in his rectum.

On Thanksgiving, after three adopted boys ate a meager meal of two microwave burritos and a half glass of water, the hands of the oldest adopted boy, who is 17, were bound. He was "back handed" across the face. Blood flowed from his nose and down his cheek. Balled up socks were stuffed in his and his adopted brother's mouths, then covered with duct tape.

At Larry Russell’s sentencing hearing, Superior Court Judge John Roach said:

“This is more than just ‘I didn’t have the skills to parent these kids. It’s significantly more than just a single incident of bad parenting and bad judgment.”

“You took them in. You locked them up. And you treated them like animals.”

After Nikki Russell’s sentencing yesterday, Terre Haute Police Detective Travis Chessir said that he wishes all the best for the adopted children in their future lives, and that he hopes they get some satisfaction from the fact that both adoptive parents were sentenced to the maximum jail sentences possible.

The detective said that it was by far the worst case of abuse he’d ever seen.

But before we all get too giddy over the maximum jail sentences of 23 years for Nikki Russell and 24 years for Larry Russell, under Ind. law, Nikki Russell will only have to serve the maximum of 10 years.

Under the same Ind. state sentencing laws, Larry Russell will most likely be free in about four years.

2013 Nov 20