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Melinda Walmsley
07-09-2004, 01:17 PM
Affidavit: Children made to dig own graves
Friday, July 9, 2004 Posted: 9:22 AM EDT (1322 GMT)



Debbie and Tom Schmitz leave court on June 29 in Trenton, Tennessee.

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TRENTON, Tennessee (AP) -- A couple facing criminal abuse charges
forced some of their 18 foster, adopted and biological children --
many of them disabled -- to dig their own graves, warning the
youngsters they could be killed and nobody would care, according to
investigative documents.

A search warrant affidavit released in the case against Thomas and
Debra Schmitz also alleges that the children were beaten, locked in a
cage and punished by having their eyeglasses, leg braces or crutches
taken away.

A home care nurse told authorities the "children were forced to dig
their own graves" and told by the couple "they could be killed and
buried in the back yard and no one will care," according to the
affidavit.

The nurse said she saw two children, ages 8 and 10, forced to sleep in
a locked metal cage without a mattress or blankets. The youngsters
were "curled in a fetal position in the cage," the affidavit said.

Debra Schmitz, 44, was charged on June 22 with three counts of
aggravated child abuse and one count of child abuse; Thomas Schmitz,
45, was charged with one count of aggravated child abuse and one count
of child abuse.

The Schmitzes, who were investigated on similar accusations four years
ago in the Green Bay, Wisconsin, area, moved to this town 85 miles
northeast of Memphis in 2000. They were not charged in that case.

They have denied wrongdoing and, on legal advice, have refused
interview requests since their arrest.

Children in the home ranged from 13 months to 17 years old. Nine of
the youngsters are the Schmitzes' adopted children, one was in the
process of being adopted and another was their biological child.

The Tennessee Department of Children's Services took custody of the
children June 21, but it is still unclear why some of them were with
the Schmitzes. Authorities were unsure who has legal custody of the
seven other youngsters, who may be special needs children adopted by
families in other states.

Adoptive parents of special needs children are allowed to put
youngsters in the care of others in times of family troubles. That
so-called "respite care" is designed to be temporary.

The home-care nurse told investigators that Debra Schmitz used the
Internet to keep in touch with guardians of special-needs children
across the country.


Tom and Debbie Schmitz pose in April with 17 of their adopted, foster
and biological children.
The nurse was told "she could get a child through this Web site within
three weeks and would not have to go through [Tennessee's] Department
of Children's Services," said the affidavit filed by the Gibson County
Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Joe Shepard said three nurses and a half-dozen children have
given reports of abuse. Investigators have found four places where
they believe children were forced to dig mock graves, he said.

The investigation could be forwarded to a grand jury following a court
hearing August 17.

"I'm positive there will be more state charges," Shepard said
Thursday.

One nurse who said children were strictly disciplined refused to
return to work at the Schmitzes' home.

"Two nights were as much as she could handle," Shepard said. "One girl
had to sit on the floor with her nose up against the wall. We found
that's pretty much a standard thing out there. But she sat there from
the time she got home from school until past 10:30 at night."

LilMtnCbn
07-09-2004, 02:29 PM
>Subject: Adopted children made to dig own grave
From: mhjtw@hotmail.com (Melinda Walmsley)Date: 7/9/2004 2:17 PM Mountain Standard TimeMessage-id: <eb5515c9.0407091217.327a3a00@posting.google.com>Affidavit: Children made to dig own gravesFriday, July 9, 2004 Posted: 9:22 AM EDT (1322 GMT)

As usual, Melinda is a day late and a dollar short.


-------------------------
A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
-----Unknown

LilMtnCbn
07-09-2004, 02:37 PM
>Subject: Re: Adopted children made to dig own grave
From: lilmtncbn@aol.com (LilMtnCbn)Date: 7/9/2004 3:29 PM Mountain Standard TimeMessage-id: <20040709172941.10891.00001395@mb-m02.aol.com>
Subject: Adopted children made to dig own graveFrom: mhjtw@hotmail.com (Melinda Walmsley)Date: 7/9/2004 2:17 PM Mountain Standard TimeMessage-id: <eb5515c9.0407091217.327a3a00@posting.google.com>Affidavit: Children made to dig own gravesFriday, July 9, 2004 Posted: 9:22 AM EDT (1322 GMT)As usual, Melinda is a day late and a dollar short.

Forgot to add, the lying sack of dog turds made up the headline too.


-------------------------
A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
-----Unknown

Kathy
07-10-2004, 03:38 PM
>Subject: Adopted children made to dig own grave
From: mhjtw@hotmail.com (Melinda Walmsley)Date: 7/9/04 1:17 PM Pacific Daylight TimeMessage-id: <eb5515c9.0407091217.327a3a00@posting.google.com>
Adopted children made to dig own grave

Biological daughter made to give up her baby by her own mother.

(snip)
Kathy

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