A Florida husband and wife have spent years abusing, neglecting and falsely imprisoning their three adopted children, officials claim.
This abuse and neglect was only discovered after an 8-year-old girl was taken to the hospital on Jan. 1 in critical condition, according to police.
After the investigation began, deputies removed a 9-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl from the home and sought medical care for them, according to reporting by Click Orlando.
When taken to the hospital, the 8-year-old girl was suffering from a staph infection, sepsis, renal and liver failure, open and infected wounds, skin infections, bruising, pneumonia in her lungs and malnutrition, according to authorities.
The investigation also found the children describe being locked in their rooms and extensive punishment, which included the kids being forced to write “I’m a fool” over and over again, police said.
The children’s mother is Jennifer Wolfthal, an author of a children’s book. She was arrested on Jan. 1 and was released on $151,000 bond. Her husband, Joseph Wolfthal, was arrested on Jan. 25 and released on $210,000 bond, per authorities.
Recently, Florida state prosecutors formally charged the Wolfthals with nine counts of abuse, neglect and imprisonment of their three minor children, police said.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, they could face life in prison.
No trial date has been set yet and the Wolfthals are restricted from having any contact with their children and each other, authorities said.