Four children were rescued from a nightmarish situation when one sibling wrote an email to her teacher asking her to call 911.
Three girls, ages 2, 9, and 11, and one boy, 8, were repeatedly tied to their beds and beaten by their guardians in Wheelersburg, Ohio. One of the girls thought to email the only adult she trusted, a teacher at Ohio Virtual Academy, and tell her that she and her siblings needed help.
Police responded immediately when they received the scared teacher’s call.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime, a once-in-a-career case. It’s horrific, emotional and awful,” Capt. David Hall of the Scioto County Sheriff's Office told The Columbus Dispatch.
The children reported being tied to their beds with ropes and chains, often naked, and beat with belts and paddles. Scars on their bodies confirmed the abuse. They were rarely fed and said they were “very hungry”— the particular punishment that drove one sister to send a virtual call for help was the result of stealing food. The children also reported that their stepfather had raped and abused them.
The detectives searched the home and arrested all three adults living there: the children’s mother, Bobbi Sue Pack, 31, her boyfriend and the father of the youngest child, Juan Carlos Sanchez, 44, and the children’s grandmother, Edwina Louis, 52.
All of the suspects are being charged with child endangerment. Sanchez, a native of the Virgin Islands, is being charged with two counts of rape. Hall says he thinks a grand jury will find the trio guilty of further crimes.
Hall described the kids' uncertainty when the detectives gave them ice cream and brought them to a vending machine to pick out snacks.
“They had never had it, never had ice cream. They didn’t know how to choose a snack,” said Hall. “It’s a punch to the gut. Something we all take for granted, you know? A trip to the snack machine. And they didn’t know what a treat was.”
The children have been placed in a foster home and are doing well, Hall says. They were relieved just to be out of their abusive home.
"They knew that they weren't going back into that environment," said Hall "That we were there to rescue them from that and not put them back in a bad situation."
“We know these kids have had significant trauma,” said Dr. Lorra Fuller, executive director of Scioto County Children Services. “Now they are safe. That’s the most important thing.”