A judge on Tuesday scheduled a trial starting Sept. 19 for the grandmother of two children, their mother and the mother's boyfriend on felony charges of abusing the children for years by locking them up and starving them.
District Judge Bill Maddox scheduled the trial for Esther Rios,
56, Regina Rios, 33, and Tomas Granados, 33, on six counts apiece.
They're to be tried together, although Regina Rios' lawyer
indicated he may seek a separate trial for his client.
The three had been bound over for trial by a justice court judge
who compared the two children to Nazi death camp survivors.
Investigators and doctors who testified in earlier proceedings
described the case as one of the worst child abuse cases they've
Dr. Kathi Amrhein, who treated the 16-year-old girl and her
11-year-old brother, has said the children suffered possibly
irreversible health problems as a result of the deprivation.
The 4-foot-tall girl weighed about 40 pounds when she fled from
her home and was found by sheriff's deputies, thanks to a tip from
a woman who saw her on the street Jan. 19. The 3½-foot-tall boy
weighed 31 pounds.
While the children have since gained weight, Amrhein said it
"would be a miracle" if the girl is able to get to near-normal
height even with growth hormone treatments. Amrhein added the boy's
legs and feet were deformed due to the prolonged confinement in a
bathroom in the family's apartment, and the girl was scarred from
beatings the girl said her grandmother gave her.
The doctor also said the children have emotional problems and
big gaps in their education. The girl didn't attend school after
the third grade and the boy has never attended school, she said.
While locked up, the girl said she and her brother subsisted
mainly on bologna sandwiches, hot dogs or hot cereal, and she went
without food for up to three days.
Three healthy children living in the home and leading outwardly
normal lives have been placed in the custody of the state.
The three defendants each face two counts of child neglect, two
counts of child abuse and two counts of false imprisonment.
Under state law, felony child abuse and child neglect carry a
penalty of two to 20 years each and felony false imprisonment
carries a penalty of one to 15 years.