Three adults agree to plea in child abuse case
CARSON CITY – A capital city stepfather could face up to 35 years in prison after he pleaded guilty Tuesday in district court to allowing his wife and mother-in-law to hold his two stepchildren captive for several years. The children’s mother and grandmother are expected to enter guilty pleas next week.
In exchange for Tomas Granados’ guilty pleas to felony false imprisonment and allowing child abuse resulting in substantial harm, prosecutors will drop two other charges – child abuse and child neglect causing substantial bodily harm.
The children’s mother, Regina Rios, 33, and her mother, Esther Rios, 54, agreed Tuesday to enter their guilty pleas at 9 a.m. Sept. 12.
All three are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 24.
The trio was arrested after Regina Rios’ 16-year-old daughter reportedly escaped Jan. 19 from a bathroom in which she and her 12-year-old brother had allegedly been held for five years. The girl weighed 41 pounds and the boy weighed 31 pounds when they were discovered by deputies.
On Tuesday, Granados, 33, admitted to installing the deadbolt lock on the bathroom door to keep the children confined.
The two have since gained weight and are being cared for by a foster family.
According to testimony during the preliminary hearing in February, the 16-year-old victim described being locked in the bathroom permanently in 2001 after she ran away. She said her brother was sentenced to the same fate sometime later when he tried to help her by sneaking her food.
The girl testified her grandmother was in charge of her and her brother’s care.
She said the bathroom she was kept in was part of her grandmother’s master bedroom, and that Esther Rios would torment her with food and beat her for minor infractions, such as crying because she was hungry.
The girl said the two subsisted on bologna, hot cereal and hot dogs. In her hunger, she recalled, she resorted to eating paper or paint and every day, several times a day, she would regurgitate what she’d already eaten so she could eat it again.
According to court documents released Tuesday, Granados allowed the children to “suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering as a result of abuse or neglect committed by Esther Rios and/or Regina Rios.”
He allowed Esther Rios to beat the girl with a stick or club, and allowed the children to be isolated from their peers and deprived of a normal education and starved to the point of impairing normal development, according to court records.
Granados faces two to 20 years on the allowing child abuse charge and one to 15 years on the false imprisonment charge.
The three adults were originally charged with two counts each of child abuse causing substantial bodily harm, child neglect causing substantial bodily harm and false imprisonment.
The terms of the women’s plea agreements were not disclosed.
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