A Michigan couple terribly abused their five kids for at least six years, locking them in what cops described as a dungeon, whipping them, not letting them use the bathroom and holding a gun to them, as well as depriving one child who had cancer of medical care, police said.
Yenier Conde, 32, and Sarah Conde, 28, of Lansing, were charged on July 18 in connection with the horrific crimes, according to the Lansing State Journal. The alleged abuse lasted from at least 2011 to 2017, but there are reports of trouble from child protective services dating back to April of 2009, the Journal reported. The children are now ages 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11, and are in protective custody.
During a court hearing, Lansing Police Det. Pete Scaccia described the atrocious conditions the kids lived in for so long. The kids would get locked up in a dark bedroom without food or water, and be denied bathroom privileges. Instead, they were given diapers and sometimes relieved themselves in the room. The kids are not potty trained to this day, Scaccia said.
The kids told investigators they'd be locked up anywhere from two hours to 10 days. One of the boys had cancer as a baby, according to court records, and it left him needing a diaper, braces and specialized shoes, none of which was replaced when he grew out of the old ones. He was also supposed to meet with a specialist once every three months, but that never happened, Scaccia said.
When they were interviewed by child protective services, the kids said domestic abuse was just a daily part of their lives, and they'd seen their father hold a gun to their mother's head on multiple occasions. Another time, according to a report by CPS, she made the children line up after they flooded the bathroom with water.
"She almost shot us. She made us stand in a line," the oldest boy said. "She was laughing with her gun. She was about to shoot us. She said, 'Stand in a line so that the blood can spill on (the oldest boy) and then (he) can come up front and I can shoot him.'"
She then demonstrated the gun was loaded and pointed it at the youngest boy's face, according to the CPS report. She allegedly pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed.
"I was scared," the youngest child told investigators. "She clicked on the gun. ... She wasn't even playing on it. I was scared because I was afraid that she was going to shoot us." The mother allegedly told the kids they got lucky.
The children, when examined by psychiatrists and psychologists, were all diagnosed with thought and mood disorders. Many of the children had neglected, rotting teeth that needed to be pulled.
The couple was charged with child abuse and unlawful imprisonment, but they face other charges related to the firearms. Sarah Conde has a court hearing on August 3, according to the AP, but it's not known when Yenier Conde will be back in court.
[Photo: Ingham County Jail, Michigan Department of Corrections]