Max Penalties in Child Abuse Case

Following dramatic statements from two children, their mother, grandmother and stepfather were sentenced to maximum prison terms Wednesday for locking them up and starving them for several years.

District Judge Bill Maddox imposed a 70-year sentence on
56-year-old Esther Rios, a 55-year term on 33-year-old Regina Rios,
and a 35-year sentence on 33-year-old Tomas Granados. All had
pleaded guilty previously to multiple felony crimes.

Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox imposed a 70-year sentence on Esther Rios, 56, a 55-year term on Regina Rios, 33, and a 35-year sentence on Tomas Granados, 33. All had pleaded guilty previously to multiple felony crimes that Maddox termed "grotesque."

"Why did you beat me up? Why did you lock me up?" Regina Rios'
12-year-old son said in court testimony prior to the sentencings.

"I love you but I can't trust you anymore," the boy told his mother. When found by officers last January, he weighed 31 pounds and was 3½ feet tall. He's now just over four feet tall and weighs 55 pounds.

"You are the one who is evil," the 16-year-old daughter told her grandmother as she described how she had been starved, tortured
and deprived of schooling. Since January, her weight has increased
from 41 to 98 pounds and her height has increased several inches to
4½ feet.

Esther Rios, who had pleaded guilty to two child abuse-neglect counts and two false imprisonment charges, will have to serve at least 28 years before she can be considered for parole.

Reginia Rios, who pleaded guilty to two abuse-neglect counts and one false imprisonment charge, must serve 22 years before she's eligible for parole.

Granados, who pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and to child abuse, neglect or endangerment causing substantial bodily harm, must serve at least 14 years before he's parole-eligible.

All three apologized to the children. Reginia Rios added she's still questioning why she was unable to defy her mother, who was described by prosecutors as the person most responsible for the abuse.

The children said they were locked in an apartment bathroom and
starved over much of the past five years. Deputies were led to the
home after someone reported seeing the girl pushing a shopping cart
full of food near the sheriff's office. The emaciated girl told deputies she was running away from home.

The siblings continue to recover, although a pediatrician, Dr. Kathi Amrhein, testified they will continue to suffer from many physical and emotional problems.

Three other children in the home attended school in Carson City and appeared to be healthy. They have been placed in the custody of the state